5 years ago

Use of Welcome to Medicare Visits Among Older Adults Following the Affordable Care Act

To encourage greater utilization of preventive services among Medicare beneficiaries, the 2010 Affordable Care Act waived coinsurance for the Welcome to Medicare visit, making this benefit free starting in 2011. The objective of this study was to determine the impact of the Affordable Care Act on Welcome to Medicare visit utilization. Methods A 5% sample of newly enrolled fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries for 2005–2016 was used to estimate changes in Welcome to Medicare visit use over time. An interrupted time series model examined whether Welcome to Medicare visits increased significantly after 2011, controlling for pre-intervention trends and other autocorrelation. Results Annual Welcome to Medicare visit rates began at 1.4% in 2005 and increased to 12.3% by 2016. The quarterly Welcome to Medicare visit rate, which was almost 1% at baseline, was increasing by 0.06% before the 2011 Affordable Care Act provision (p<0.001). Immediately following the 2011 Affordable Care Act provision, the rate increased by about 1% in the first quarter of 2011 (intercept, p<0.001), followed by an increase of 0.13% every subsequent quarter (slope, p<0.001). This general trend was observed in subgroup analyses, although this trend varied by subgroups where the pre−Affordable Care Act trends of lower utilization persisted over time for non-whites and improved less quickly for men, regions other than Northeast, and beneficiaries without any supplemental insurance. Conclusions The Affordable Care Act, and perhaps the removal of cost sharing, was associated with increased use of the Welcome to Medicare visit; however, even with the increased use, there is room for improvement.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0749379717304853

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