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Research Letter
July 2016

Characteristics of Decedents in Medicare Advantage and Traditional Medicare

Author Affiliations
  • 1Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • 2Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(7):1020-1023. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.2266

Approximately 25% of all Medicare expenditures are for care received in the last year of life.1 Much research has been done to understand cost and utilization patterns for Medicare beneficiaries at the end of life (EOL).2 However, when assessing EOL costs, most studies focus on decedents with traditional fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare owing to the lack of cost and utilization data for the 30% of Medicare beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans.3 This gap is a cause for concern because utilization and quality of care may differ between MA and FFS beneficiaries.46 We sought to examine differences in characteristics of decedents in MA and FFS Medicare based on detailed survey data.

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