Health Care Expenditures in the Last Two Years of Life
As this graph shows, the total cost of nursing home care during a person’s last two years is extremely sensitive to that person’s longevity and rises steadily as that persons attained age increases. But the cost of that patient to Medicare during those final two years actually decreases. As the article concluded, “longevity after the age of 65 has a larger effect on the costs of nursing home care […] than on the costs of services covered by Medicare.” Thus, the increasing number of persons eligible for Medicare in the future will certainly increase that program’s costs, but their increasing longevity is itself a benign factor. Or as Harvard economist David Cutler concluded, “longer life in itself will not add to Medicare costs.”
Richard Kaplan at the Health Care Blog.