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Variations Among Medicare Beneficiaries Living in Different Settings: Demographics, Health Status, and Service Use.


Older people with complex health issues and needs for functional support are increasingly living in different types of residential care environments as alternatives to nursing homes. This study aims to compare the demographics and health-care expenditures of Medicare beneficiaries by the setting in which they live: nursing homes, residential care settings, and at home using data from the 2002 to 2010 Medicare Current Beneficiary Study (MCBS), a nationally representative survey of the Medicare population. All Medicare beneficiaries aged 65 years or older who participated in the fall MCBS interview (years 2002-2010) and were alive for the full year (N = 83,507) were included in the sample. We found that there is a gradient in health status, physical and cognitive functioning, and health-care use and spending across settings. Minority elderly are overrepresented in facilities and underrepresented in alternative living settings.

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