Last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a data snapshot about COVID-19 rates and hospitalizations among Medicare beneficiaries based on Medicare claims from January through May 16, 2020. Among other findings, the data showed that dual eligibles (people with both Medicare and Medicaid coverage) are more than four times more likely than Medicare-only beneficiaries to have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and also more than four times more likely than Medicare-only beneficiaries to have been hospitalized due to COVID-19. The data also shows disparities by race, age, gender, disability, and ESRD diagnosis. Additional information about the data release can be found here.
The CMS data snapshot tracks with reports in the New York Times and from the Kaiser Family Foundation. These reports showed that serious illness resulting from COVID-19 disproportionately affects people of color. Additionally, these reports showed that adults with low incomes are more likely to have chronic health conditions compared to adults with high incomes, which could increase their risk of serious illness if infected with COVID-19.
Readers can visit Medicare’s website to find information about Medicare’s coverage of COVID-19 testing and treatment. People with Medicare who are having problems getting testing and treatment can contact APPRISE at 1-800-783-7067. Dual eligibles who are having problems getting health care coverage and services are encouraged to call PHLP’s Helpline at 1-800-274-3258 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.