The Diabetes Care Project (DCP) has undertaken a series of studies to develop and examine a new paradigm for "knowing the Medicare beneficiary." A series of three issue briefs analyzing Medicare claims data will focus on better understanding how Medicare beneficiaries with chronic diseases like diabetes utilize their Medicare benefits and how that utilization impacts health outcomes and costs. The first analysis focuses more broadly on chronic disease, with subsequent analyses centered specifically on a cohort of Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes.
“Low Consumption and Higher Medicare Cost: Consumption Clusters in a Medicare Fee-for-Service Population”
The first study by the Diabetes Care Project analyzes the utilization of benefits and services by all Medicare beneficiaries over a six-year period. Results from this analysis show that beneficiaries who consume the least benefits and services – as evidenced by the level of reimbursement associated with their care – are more likely have health issues, costing the program significantly more in the short term.
Low-consumer diabetics are the most likely to under-manage their disease, which leads to poor health outcomes and drives the need for additional care. As such, this group is likely to cost Medicare significantly more in the near term.
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Diabetes disproportionately affects minority populations — nearly 13 percent of African-Americans and 12 percent of Hispanics in the U.S. suffer from diabetes compared with just 7 percent of Caucasians.2