Uninsured Americans Raise Medicare Expenditures
Americans who weren't insured before they reached age 65 and gained access to Medicare cost the program a lot more than those who did have health insurance, a new study finds.The study didn't estimate possible savings, but the chronic conditions that resulted in higher expenditures for the uninsured included high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and stroke; conditions that require monitoring and prophylactic treatment to prevent them from worsening, which in turn translates into healthier people with improved quality of life.
Data on more than 5,000 older people from a national study found that the previously uninsured needed 13 percent more doctors visits, experienced 20 percent more hospitalizations and had 51 percent higher total medical expenditures after their care began to be covered by the government program.
"Providing health insurance coverage for these adults [before age 65] could not only improve their health but also partially offset the costs of expanding coverage," said Dr. J. Michael McWilliams, a research associate in the Harvard Medical School department of health care policy and lead author of a report in the July 12 New England Journal of Medicine.
IMHO, the money saved is secondary to good health care for all Americans. You can't put a price tag on something like that.