Study: When uninsured get Medicare, it's costly

A new study suggests that when chronically-ill uninsured adults age into Medicare eligibility, they're sicker than adults who had commercial insurance when they entered Medicare. The study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found formerly uninsured adults were hospitalized more often and had greater medical expenses through at least age 72.

The study, conducted by Dr. John Z. Ayanian of Harvard Medical School, looked at 9,760 adults who were 51- to 61-years-old in 1992. It found when uninsured people became eligible for Medicare, they had 13 percent higher levels of doctor visits, 20 percent more hospitalizations and 61 percent greater medical expenditures. The effects were strongest in people with cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

To learn more about the study:
- read this piece in The New York Times

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