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March 26, 2021

Health Law Weekly

Medicare Spending on COVID-19 Hospitalizations Topped $10.3 Billion in 2020, CMS Says

  • March 26, 2021

Medicare spending on COVID-19 hospitalizations was more than $10.3 billion in 2020, according to updated estimates released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

CMS posted the updated data snapshot covering services provided to Medicare beneficiaries between January 1, 2020 and December 26, 2020.

During the data period, more than 2.7 million beneficiaries were diagnosed with COVID-19, and nearly 700,000 beneficiaries were hospitalized, CMS said.

The latest figures continue to confirm that COVID-19 disproportionately affected vulnerable populations, particularly racial and ethnic minorities, adults 85 years and older, and those with certain chronic conditions.

According to the snapshot, American/Alaskan Natives had the highest rates of hospitalization for COVID-19 at 2,393 per 100,000 beneficiaries, followed by African American (1,937) and Hispanic (1,617) beneficiaries. Infection rates followed similar trends.  

For the first time since releasing the snapshot, the rate of COVID-19 cases in rural areas (4,271 per 100,000) is higher than in urban areas (4,151 per 100,000), CMS said.

The snapshot is based on Medicare fee-for-service claims data, Medicare Advantage encounter data, and Medicare enrollment information. CMS noted that the data is preliminary and will continue to be updated as the agency processes claims and encounters for the reporting period.