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Extended Care Carries High Costs, Difficult Choices

07/11/12

  11:56:35 am, by MedBen5   , 203 words,  
Categories: News, Wellness, Health Plan Management

Extended Care Carries High Costs, Difficult Choices

The Crushing Cost of Care” is a sobering look at the financial realities of extended major care by The Wall Street Journal. The article follows the final months of Scott Crawford, a 41-year-old man who endured a heart transplant, various amputations and a lengthy intensive care stay before passing away in 2009. His story is interspersed with an analysis of health care costs for individuals with serious illnesses:

“A primary goal of the 2010 health-care overhaul […] is to slow the growth of costs. Even so, the law does little to address a simple fact: A sliver of the sickest patients account for the majority of U.S. health-care spending. In 2009, the top 10% of Medicare beneficiaries who received hospital care accounted for 64% of the program’s hospital spending, the Journal’s analysis found.

“Younger patients like Mr. Crawford were more expensive, representing just 18.5% of the beneficiaries who received hospital care but 23.7% of the total cost. Seniors vastly outnumbered them, however, and consumed 76% of the total hospital costs. […]

“Medicare patients rack up disproportionate costs in the final year of life. In 2009, 6.6% of the people who received hospital care died. Those 1.6 million people accounted for 22.3% of total hospital expenditures, the Journal’s analysis shows.”

It’s a sad, but definitely worthwhile, read.

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