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Racial Differences in Health Care Use Among Medicare Only and Dual Eligibles

Author: SANGHO MOON and JAEUN SHIN
Published in JHHSA, Vol. 28 No. 3

It has been an important financial issue in the U.S. Medicare
expenditures that health care expenses of Medicaid-Medicare dual
eligibles (MMDE) are much higher than those of Medicare only
beneficiaries (MOB). This paper compares health care use and health
status of MMDEs and MOBs who are either Afro-American or white
recipients.
Using total health care use information from the Medical
Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) 2000, we find that the proportion of
dual eligibles with chronic health conditions is higher by 4% than that
of the Medicare only beneficiaries and that dual eligibles make more
frequent uses of various health care services. The number of office-
based physician visits and outpatient physician visits are higher for
Afro-American dual eligibles than white dual eligibles. This finding
seems to be contributed to by relatively high medical needs among dual
eligibles. Higher utilization of agency-related home health services
among Afro-American dual eligibles than among white dual eligibles is
considered as a consequence of different ethnicity-specific responses to
insurance coverage.

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