Study Published on Medicare Utilization and Spending During COVID-19 Crisis

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Study Published on Medicare Utilization and Spending During COVID-19 Crisis

On October 8, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services published a study on Medicare utilization and spending in 2020 to analyze utilization and spending trends during the COVID-19 Emergency.

The study, which was conducted by the Assistant Secretary for Policy and Evaluation Office of Health Policy, reported several key findings, including:

  • Medicare beneficiary utilization of services declined substantially beginning in mid-March 2020, bottomed out the week ending April 8, and increased through June.
  • Payments for all fee-for-service claims declined by 39% in the week ending April 8—33% for inpatient services and 49% for physician services.
  • By the week ending July 1, weekly payments had nearly returned to 2019 levels. They had risen to 96% of the comparable week in 2019 for all claims, 93% for inpatient services, and 95% for physician services.
  • At the end of June, cumulative year-to-date payment deficits relative to 2019 ranged from 12% to 16% for these service categories.
  • Utilization of individual preventive screening and surgical services declined substantially during March and April and have increased through June. Mammography preventive screening services have returned to pre-COVID levels and colonoscopies to 85% of pre-COVID levels.
  • There is geographic variation in the magnitude of both the utilization declines and the rate of recovery.

To read the full report, click here: