CMS says that more than 1.9 million Medicare beneficiaries were diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, between the start of last year and Nov. 21. Of those beneficiaries, more than 493,000 were hospitalized as inpatients with a COVID-19 diagnosis during that period.
Those numbers, released in mid-January, reflect cases and hospitalizations that CMS knew about as of Dec. 18. The federal agency notes that all data in its latest report will continue to change as CMS processes more Medicare health insurance claims.
The data reveals that 12 chronic conditions are most common among the Medicare beneficiaries who have been hospitalized:
- Hypertension: 79%
- Hyperlipidemia: 61%
- Chronic kidney disease: 49%
- Diabetes: 49%
- Rheumatoid arthritis/osteoarthritis: 46%
- Ischemic heart disease: 45%
- Anemia: 44%
- Heart failure: 33%
- Depression: 33%
- Alzheimer’s disease/dementia: 32%
- Obesity: 32%
- Peripheral vascular disease: 31%
Of the beneficiaries who were hospitalized, 19% died and 35% were discharged to their homes. The others moved from the hospital to skilled nursing facilities (20%), home health care (15%), hospice (5%) or another health care facility (4%), CMS says.
About half of the hospital stays lasted for fewer than eight days, while 11% percent of the stays were at least 21 days.
Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are age 65 and older or who have disabilities or certain medical conditions.