About half of all Black, Hispanic, and Asian Medicare beneficiaries in nursing homes had or likely had COVID-19 in 2020 compared to about 40 percent of White beneficiaries, according to the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) Data Snapshot COVID-19 Had A Devastating Impact on Medicare Beneficiaries in Nursing Homes During 2020. Black beneficiaries in nursing homes had the highest rates of COVID-19 infections or likely infections at 51%, while 49% of Hispanic beneficiaries and 47% of Asian beneficiaries had or likely had infections.  Additionally, dually eligible beneficiaries – individuals enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid – in nursing homes were more likely (56%) to contract COVID-19 than beneficiaries enrolled in only the Medicare program (29%).
The OIG report further notes that the overall death rate for Medicare beneficiaries in nursing homes increased by almost one-third in 2020, and concludes that there is a demonstrable need “for increased action to mitigate the effects of the ongoing pandemic and to avert such tragedies from occurring in the future.”
OIG highlights that the information in this Snapshot is drawn from data not previously reported on nursing home COVID-19 cases and deaths. Analysis was based on Medicare claims data and did not include nursing home residents who are not Medicare beneficiaries.
June 24, 2021 – C. St. John
COVID-19 Had a Devastating Impact on Medicare Beneficiaries in Nursing Homes During 2020. (June 2021). Office of Inspector General. OEI-02-20-00490. Available at: https://oig.hhs.gov/oei/reports/OEI-02-20-00490.asp