Health Care Expenditures Associated With Skeletal Fractures Among Medicare Beneficiaries, 1999–2005

Authors


  • The authors state that they have no conflicts of interest.

  • Published online on May 18, 2009;

Abstract

Fractures impose substantial burdens, in terms of both costs and health, on individuals and health care systems. This is particularly true for older Americans and the Medicare system. The objective of this study was to estimate the costs of care associated with selected fractures among Medicare beneficiaries. This was a retrospective, person-level, pre/postfracture analysis using administrative data. The study used Medicare claims data from 1999 through 2005 for a 5% sample of Medicare beneficiaries. The subjects included Medicare beneficiaries, ≥65 yr of age, who had at least 13 mo of both Parts A and B coverage and not enrolled in Medicare Advantage and who experienced a closed fracture of the hip, femur, pelvis, tibia/fibula, ankle, distal forearm, nondistal radius/ulna, humerus, clavicle, spine, or wrist, or any fracture of the distal forearm or ankle during the years 2000 through 2005. The main outcome measures were incremental (greater than baseline) and attributable (directly associated) payments for Medicare-covered services for the first 6 mo after incident fractures. Incremental payments ranged from $7788 (95% CI, $7550–$8025) for distal forearm fractures to $31,310 (95% CI, $31,073–$31,547) for open hip fractures; the attributable payments for distal forearm and hip fractures were $1856 and $18,734, respectively. Fractures are associated with substantial increases in health services utilization and costs among Medicare beneficiaries, but significant proportions of those costs are not directly attributable to fracture treatment. Further research is needed to ascertain other health conditions that are driving costs for Medicare beneficiaries after fractures.

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