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Health Care Financ Rev. 2006 Winter;28(2):81-95.

Trends in the health status of medicare risk contract enrollees.

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  • 1Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Ser-vices, Baltimore, MD 21244-1850, USA.


Previous research has found Medicare risk contract enrollees to be healthier than beneficiaries in fee-for-service (FFS). Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) data were used to examine trends in health and functional status measures among risk contract and FFS enrollees from 1991 to 2004. Risk contract enrollees reported better health and functioning, but the differences tended to narrow over time. Most of the differences in trends were observed for functional status measures and institutionalization; differences in trends for perceived health status and prevalence rates of chronic conditions tended to be small or non-existent. The narrowing of functional and health status differences between the risk contract and FFS populations may have implications for payment policy, as well as implications for the role of private health plans in Medicare.

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