Sex Differences in Medicare Beneficiaries' Experiences by Low-Income Status

Academic Article


  • OBJECTIVES: Medicare beneficiaries dually eligible for Medicaid are a low-income group who are often in poor health. Little research has examined sex differences in patient experience by dual/low-income subsidy (LIS) status. STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional comparison by sex and low-income status. METHODS: We used linear regression to compare 6 case mix-adjusted patient experience measures (on a 0-100 scale) by sex within non-dual/LIS and dual/LIS beneficiary groups among 549,603 respondents 65 years and older to the 2016-2017 Medicare Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems surveys of beneficiary experience with Medicare (mail with telephone follow-up of nonrespondents, 42% response rate). RESULTS: Dual/LIS male beneficiaries reported worse patient experiences on all 6 measures than female beneficiaries, with scores 1 to 2 percentage points lower for 3 measures and less than 1 percentage point lower for the other 3 measures. For 4 of the 6 measures, sex differences among dual/LIS beneficiaries were significantly larger than those among non-dual/LIS beneficiaries. In all 4 instances, the gaps between men and women among dual/LIS beneficiaries favored women; P < .05 for all differences discussed. CONCLUSIONS: Low-income male Medicare beneficiaries are more likely to report poor patient experiences, possibly because of lower health literacy, less patient activation, and smaller social networks, along with provider responses to these characteristics. Efforts to address these patient-level factors should happen in parallel with structural-level approaches to train and prepare providers to ensure attentive, respectful patient-centered care for all patients. Additionally, targeted use of ombudsmen and interventions may help reduce inequities.
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    Author List

  • MacCarthy S; Mizel ML; Haviland AM; Dembosky JW; Gaillot S; Tamayo L; Elliott MN
  • Start Page

  • 465
  • End Page

  • 471
  • Volume

  • 28
  • Issue

  • 9