Medicare Advantage enrollees living in disadvantaged neighborhoods more likely to use high-cost care: Study

The neighborhood an individual lives in can affect their healthcare utilization, especially in the Medicare population, according to a study in the American Journal of Managed Care. 

Researchers compared claims data for a sample of commercially insured individuals younger than 89. 

The study found adults older than 65 residing in disadvantaged neighborhoods had a higher risk of utilizing high-cost medical care. The risk was lower among younger commercially insured adults in the same neighborhoods. 

Conversely, children who resided in neighborhoods with higher average incomes were more likely to utilize high-cost care, the study found. 

The findings underscore the need for insurers to use a holistic approach to viewing members' health, especially among the Medicare Advantage population, the study's authors wrote. 

"Medicare Advantage plans may offer supplemental services to address unmet social needs, in addition to medical care, especially for members residing in more disadvantaged neighborhoods," the authors wrote. 

The study, published July 20, was written by researchers at Texas A&M University in College Station; Elevance Health; Weill Cornell Medical College, Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian Hospital in New York City; and Janssen. 

Read the full study here. 

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