Objective: The aim of the study is to assess the relationship between body mass index (BMI) class and Medicare claims among young-old (65-69), old (70-74), and old-old (75+) adults over a 10-year period. Method: We assessed costs by BMI class and age group among 9,300 respondents to the 1998 Health and Retirement Study (HRS) with linked 1998-2008 Medicare claims data. BMI was classified as normal (18.5-24.9), overweight (25-29.9), mild obesity (30-34.9), or severe obesity (35 or above). Results: Annualized total Medicare claims adjusted for age, gender, ethnicity, education, and smoking history were 109% greater for severely obese young-old adults in comparison with normal weight young-old adults (US$9,751 vs. US$4,663). Total annualized claim differences between the normal weight and severely obese in the old and old-old groups were not statistically significant. Discussion: Excess Medicare expenditures related to obesity may be concentrated among severely obese young-old adults. Preventing severe obesity among middle and older aged adults may have large cost implications for society.
- older adults
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Sociology and Political Science
- Life-span and Life-course Studies