Dually enrolled beneficiaries have higher episode costs on the Medicare Spending per Beneficiary measure

Lok Wong Samson, Lena M. Chen, Arnold M. Epstein, Karen E.Joynt Maddox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Cost measures are a growing part of Medicare's value-based payment programs. Medicare Spending per Beneficiary (MSPB) is the cost measure included in Medicare's Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program. Beneficiaries who are dually enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid are known to have higher spending on care, but it is unknown whether spending on the MSPB measure varies based on dual enrollment and whether this has implications for the performance of safety-net hospitals. We found that after adjustment for comorbidities, dually enrolled beneficiaries had 4.3 percent higher spending, which was primarily driven by higher costs in the postacute setting associated with use of institutional postacute care. Hospitals in the highest quintile of the disproportionate share hospital index had poorer performance on the MSPB measure, and were more likely to be penalized under VBP. After adjustment for dual status, differences in MSPB performance between safety-net and non-safety-net hospitals were no longer significant. This suggests that differences in performance between the two types of hospitals were driven at least in part by differences in their patient populations. However, overall VBP payment impacts were largely unchanged after the MSPB measure was adjusted for dual-enrollment status.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-94
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Affairs
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • Disparities
  • Health reform
  • Health spending
  • Quality of care
  • Safety-net systems

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