Hospital Stays Shown To Be Less Expensive, Shorter for Medicare Advantage Patients With Mental Health Issues
Hospital stays for mental health care were substantially less expensive and shorter for seniors with Medicare Advantage insurance coverage than for those with traditional Medicare in 2013, according to a new AHRQ study of more than 7.8 million hospitalizations in 22 states. The authors did not pinpoint a reason for the difference, but they suggested one factor might have been Medicare Advantage’s emphasis on providing outpatient treatment rather than more appropriate inpatient care. The study also found that Medicare Advantage hospital stays for surgery and injury were costlier and longer than traditional Medicare admissions. The costs and lengths of stay for medical admissions were comparable for the two Medicare programs, the study found. “Medicare Advantage and Traditional Medicare Hospitalization Intensity and Readmissions” was published March 8 in Medicare Care Research and Review. Access the abstract.