Wasteful Services Cost Medicare Up to $8.5 Billion, Study Estimates

One in four Medicare patients got medical care at least once in 2009 that provided no benefit at a total cost of at least $1.9 billion, newly published research suggests.

One in four Medicare patients got medical care at least once in 2009 that provided no benefit at a total cost of at least $1.9 billion, newly published research suggests.

The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, estimated the cost of overuse for more than two dozen cancer screening, imaging, diagnostic, preventive or preoperative testing services and found it totaled 0.6% of Medicare spending.

Researchers, however, also ran a second, wider analysis to capture wasteful services excluded under the initial model but with the potential to include some appropriate care as well. The broader evaluation found a significantly higher number of Medicare patients received care that did no good, 42%, at a much higher cost, $8.5 billion, or 2.7% of the program's overall spending.

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Source: Modern Healthcare