The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released preliminary data on COVID-19 infections derived from Medicare claims. According to the CMS snapshot, between January 1 and May 16, 2020, over 325,000 Medicare beneficiaries were diagnosed with COVID-19, and nearly 110,000 of those beneficiaries were hospitalized. The snapshot provides preliminary data based on Medicare fee-for-service claims, Medicare Advantage encounter data, and Medicare enrollment information. Thus, CMS noted that the findings may not be comprehensive or match other publicly available data sources. Some of the data in the CMS snapshot:
- Among those hospitalized with COVID-19, the five most prevalent chronic conditions for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries were: hypertension (79%); hyperlipidemia (60%); chronic kidney disease (50%); anemia (50%); and diabetes (50%).
- 28% of hospitalized beneficiaries died in the hospital, and 27% were discharged to their homes. The remainder were discharged to skilled nursing facilities (21%) or other healthcare settings.
- Half of hospitalizations (50%) were less than 8 days, while 9% were 21 days or longer.
- Rates are also higher for Black beneficiaries (465 hospitalizations per 100,000 beneficiaries), Hispanic beneficiaries (258/100K), and among beneficiaries who are age 85 or older (379/100k).
- Beneficiaries eligible for Medicare because they have end stage renal disease (ESRD) have the highest COVID-19 hospitalization rate, with 1,341 cases per 100,000 beneficiaries.
- Beneficiaries enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid (dually eligible individuals or duals) also have a higher rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations, with 473 hospitalizations per 100,000 beneficiaries. The rate for beneficiaries enrolled only in Medicare is 112 hospitalizations per 100,000. The rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations for dually eligible individuals is higher across all age, sex, and race/ethnicity groups.
- Medicare payments for fee-for-service hospitalizations totaled $1.9 billion, with an average of $23,094 per hospitalization.
CMS Snapshot, available at: https://www.cms.gov/blog/medicare-covid-19-data-release-blog
The New York Times also recently released their detailed analysis of CDC data that found that racial disparities in COVID infections were present throughout the country and across all age groups. Their analysis, “The Fullest Look Yet at the Racial Inequity of Coronavirus” found that “Latino and African-American residents of the United States have been three times as likely to become infected as their white neighbors, according to the new data, which provides detailed characteristics of 640,000 infections detected in nearly 1,000 U.S. counties. And Black and Latino people have been nearly twice as likely to die from the virus as white people, the data shows.”
New York Times Report, available at:
Center for Medicare Advocacy’s previous alerts on this topic:
- Report: COVID-19 Disproportionately Affects Communities of Color: https://medicareadvocacy.org/report-covid-19-disproportionately-affects-communities-of-color/
- Research: Low-Income and Communities of Color at Increased Risk From COVID-19: https://medicareadvocacy.org/research-low-income-and-communities-of-color-at-increased-increased-risk-from-covid-19/
July 9, 2020 – K. Kertesz