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Capitol Health Call
March 12, 2014

Insurance Prior to Medicare Suggests Health Benefits

JAMA. 2014;311(10):1005. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.2006

Individuals who had continuous health insurance during the 6 years preceding Medicare enrollment were more likely than those without prior insurance to report being in good or better health during their first 6 years in Medicare, reported the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The GAO report (http://tinyurl.com/lre498p), released January 16, also found that beneficiaries with prior insurance used fewer or less costly medical services in Medicare compared with those without prior insurance. The report was prepared at the request of Sen Max Baucus (D, Mont), chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance; Sen Tom Harkin (D, Iowa), chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP); and Sen Sheldon Whitehouse (D, RI), a member of the HELP committee. The senators wanted to see the effects of Medicare beneficiaries’ health insurance coverage before enrollment on their health status, spending, and use of services after enrollment.

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