Constrained Innovation in Managing Care for High-Risk Seniors in Medicare + Choice Risk Plans. C. Characteristics of Our Sample of High-Risk Seniors

01/01/2002

The characteristics of our sample indicate some traits that distinguish our sampled high-risk seniors from the overall Medicare population. The composition of our sample reflects two types of selection. First, our focus on people with advanced age and a previous stroke or hip fracture implies that our sample will be older than the average elderly Medicare beneficiary. Furthermore, members of any of our three sample subgroups (care management, advanced age, previous hip fracture or stroke) are more likely to have poorer-than-average self- assessed health status and possess multidimensional needs resulting from multiple functional limitations and chronic conditions.

To describe our sample of high-risk seniors, we present means of variables related to the demographic characteristics and the health and functioning of beneficiaries in our sample. Means from our survey are weighted to adjust for nonresponse and the probability of selection into a given survey sample,10 and allow us to make generalizations about the relevant populations of the three MCOs at the population level. Furthermore, to give a general sense of how our sample compares to the population of elderly Medicare beneficiaries, means derived from the 1997 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) (Health Care Financing Administration 1999) are also included. Standard errors were not available for the means we derived from published data from the MCBS, but even those published for smaller subgroups were consistently less then one percent. Therefore, the following standard will be used to give an idea of whether the means are statistically significant: if the mean of our sample is more than 2 x (standard error) away from that of the MCBS, then it will be considered significantly different.

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