Publications

Socioeconomic Disparities in the Use of Home Health Services in a Medicare Managed Care Population

This study investigated socioeconomic disparities in access to home health visits and durable medical equipment by persons enrolled in two Medicare managed care health plans. Controlling for health and demographic differences, Medicare managed care enrollees in the lowest tertile for nonhousing assets had 50% greater odds than those in the highest tertile of having one or more home health visits. All else equal, enrollees with less than a high school education had 30% lower odds than those who had graduated from high school of using durable medical equipment. Medicare managed care enrollees of low socioeconomic status do not appear to have reduced access to home health visits; however, use of durable medical equipment is considerably lower for enrollees with less than a high school education. Physicians and therapists working with Medicare managed care enrollees may want to actively target DME prescriptions to those with educational disadvantages.