Medicare Care Choices Model Improved End-Of-Life Care, Lowered Medicare Expenditures, and Increased Hospice Use
The Medicare Care Choices Model (MCCM) tested a new option for eligible Medicare beneficiaries to receive conventional treatment for terminal conditions along with supportive and palliative care from participating hospice providers. Using claims data, we estimated differences in average outcomes from enrollment to death between deceased MCCM enrollees and matched comparison beneficiaries who received usual services covered by original Medicare. Enrollees were 15 percentage points less likely to receive an aggressive life-prolonging treatment at the end of life and spent more than five more days at home. MCCM also reduced net Medicare expenditures by 13 percent, decreased inpatient admissions by 26 percent, reduced outpatient emergency department visits by 12 percent, and increased hospice use by 18 percentage points. Although the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services did not expand the model, given concerns about generalizability, these results provide evidence that MCCM is a promising approach to transforming care delivery at the end of life.