Johns Hopkins Public Health School Study Finds Preventable Hospitalizations Common for Dual Medicare/Medicaid Enrollees

Improvement of access to supportive services and unmet needs for care among community-resident elderly people with Medicare and Medicaid coverage

From 1998 to 2004, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University conducted a study of unmet needs for health and support services and barriers to accessing such services among older Medicare beneficiaries who also receive support from Medicaid ("dual enrollees").

In a survey of 2,128 dual enrollees in six states, the researchers at the university's Bloomberg School of Public Health found that 25 percent of all hospitalizations within one year were preventable for dual enrollees.

They also found that preventable hospitalizations were more common among dual enrollees with five or more chronic conditions.

Key Findings

  • About half (49.8%) of older Medicare beneficiaries with incomes at or below 100 percent of poverty were enrolled in Medicaid in 1996.

  • Dual enrollment of older people in both Medicaid and Medicare did not in itself appear to increase service use.

  • State policies related to spending for home and community-based services significantly influenced Medicaid enrollment among low-income, community-dwelling elderly persons.