Medicare Coverage Improves Health Trends for Previously Uninsured Older Adults

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<p>A <a href="/publications/in-the-literature/2007/dec/health-of-previously-uninsured-adults-after-acquiring-medicare-coverage
">study</a> released today in the <em>Journal of the American Medical Association</em> finds dramatic improvement in health trends when previously uninsured older individuals--particularly those with cardiovascular disease or diabetes--gain health care coverage through Medicare.<br><br>With support from The Commonwealth Fund, a team of Harvard Medical School researchers led by J. Michael McWilliams, M.D., present the strongest evidence to date that health improves significantly when people gain health insurance. Using comprehensive self-reported health measures, the researchers analyzed data for 7,233 older adults--including individuals who were continuously insured and those either persistently or intermittently uninsured--over a 12-year period.<br><br>While individuals who had continuous health insurance coverage did not report a significant change in their health trends as they transitioned to Medicare, those who had no or little coverage reported substantial improvements, with uninsured individuals who had heart disease or diabetes reporting the most dramatic improvements.</p>