Coordinated care programs for dual eligibles could save billions

A new report suggests that requiring dual eligibles—persons receiving both Medicare and Medicaid benefits—to enroll in team-based coordination of care programs could save the federal government $125 billion over 10 years.

As of 2010, more than 9 million individuals were eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. Dual eligibles are among the most expensive and chronically ill of all patients. Per capita spending among dual eligibles exceeds $20,000 per year, according to the report, which was written by Kenneth Thorpe, PhD, professor of health and policy management at Emory University.

Though they comprise a small share of total enrollment, dual eligibles account for 36 percent of total Medicare spending and 39 percent of Medicaid spending. The report notes that in 2011, the federal government—through Medicare and Medicaid—will spend over $230 billion on dual eligibles. Using projections of Medicare and Medicaid spending from the Congressional Budget Office, federal spending on dual eligibles will total nearly $3.7 trillion over the next decade.

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