Post-SNF Outcomes and Cost Comparison: Medicare Advantage vs Traditional Medicare

Objectives: To compare outcomes and costs following skilled nursing facility (SNF) discharge for patients within a Medicare Advantage (MA) organization vs traditional Medicare (TM).

Study Design: Retrospective analysis of adults with a postacute SNF admission identified from MA claims (MA cohort: nā€‰=ā€‰56,228) and the Medicare 5% Limited Data Sets (TM cohort: nā€‰=ā€‰67,859).

Methods: Outcomes included hospitalization, proportion of days at home, and total medical costs during the 180 days post SNF discharge, and successful community discharge. Regression models accounted for patient characteristics and health care utilization in the 180 days prior to the proximal hospitalization and characteristics of the proximal hospitalization using backward variable selection and fixed effects for MA enrollment. To control for observable differences between individuals who selected MA vs TM, inverse probability of treatment weighting (IPTW) was conducted.

Results: The MA cohort was younger than the TM cohort (median age, 77 vs 81 years), more likely to have qualified for Medicare based on disability (29% vs 20%), and less likely to have dual Medicare/Medicaid eligibility (16% vs 23%). After adjustment, MA was associated with 22% decreased odds of hospitalization during the 180 days post SNF discharge, 19% increased odds of successful community discharge, a 4% increase in the proportion of days at home (equating to 6.7 additional days), and a 24% decrease in medical costs post SNF discharge. Results using IPTW were similar.

Conclusions: MA was associated with better outcomes and lower costs post SNF discharge, suggesting efficiencies in care for SNF patients with MA. Further research is needed to evaluate specific MA features that may lead to better value.