A study sought to understand relationships between Medicare costs, beneficiary disability and beneficiary health. Researchers sought to understand how costs and health might have been different if disability had not changed. The study produced projections about how disability and spending are likely to change in the future. Over the study period, the nondisabled made up an increasing proportion of the older population and became more expensive on a per capita basis.
Spending for persons with chronic disability fell progressively, so that the gap in spending between the disabled and nondisabled progressively narrowed. Within the disabled population: the two least expensive groups--persons managing their disability with only equipment, a group increasing in prevalence, and persons with help only with activities of daily living became more expensive. The two most costly groups--persons who received help with activities of daily living, or were institutionalized became less expensive. (9321)