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May 21, 2021

Health Law Weekly

Medicare Spending on COVID-19 Hospitalizations Tops $16 Billion, CMS Says

  • May 21, 2021

Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) spending on COVID-19 hospitalizations was about $16.6 billion from January 1, 2020 through March 20, 2012, and averaged roughly $24,000 per beneficiary, according to preliminary data posted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

During that time period, there were more than 691,000 FFS hospitalizations, the latest data snapshot indicates.

Among hospitalized FFS beneficiaries, 84% had hypertension, 67% had high cholesterol, 62% had chronic kidney disease, and 51% had ischemic heart disease.

Based on Medicare claims and encounter data, more than 4.1 beneficiaries have had COVID-19 since 2020.

According to the snapshot, beneficiaries with end stage renal disease had the highest rates of infection and hospitalizations.

In addition, American/Alaskan Natives had the highest rates of hospitalization for COVID-19, followed by African American and Hispanic beneficiaries. Infection rates followed similar trends.  

CMS noted that the data is preliminary and will continue to be updated as the agency processes claims and encounters for the reporting period.