The Rising Costs of Medicare: Spatiotemporal, Age-Related and Respiratory Infection-Associated Trends in Medicare Expenditures in the Elderly

Steven A. Cohen, Tufts University
Elena Naumova, Tufts University

Medicare costs in the vulnerable elderly population comprise a significant percentage of the annual federal budget each year. Understanding the key components that constitute healthcare expenditures and their spatiotemporal dynamics is essential to create effective means of controlling costs. In this analysis, we abstracted 52 million Medicare hospitalization claims and described trends in expenditures based on age, time, space, and type of hospitalization (respiratory infection or not). The results illustrate several unique trends, including the potential for cohort-based effects in expenditures overall and for those with respiratory infections. Overall expenditures and those for respiratory infections exhibited strong seasonality and increased in all age groups over the period of study. These results underscore the need to model and address the causes of medical expenses to prepare for the ongoing population aging in the United States to ensure that the resources are available to meet growing healthcare needs in the elderly.

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Presented in Poster Session 2