Traditional Medicare spends much more on post-hospital care for people in their 60s than private insurance, but the additional spending doesn’t keep patients from ending up back in the hospital.

Picture a woman in her 60s, in the hospital, after a heart attack or hip replacement. As her hospital stay nears its end, her care team prepares her for the next step in her recovery, which might include time in a nursing home or rehabilitation facility, care at home or regular therapy appointments.

But a new study reveals that if the patient has traditional Medicare coverage, her post-hospital care will probably cost far more than it would have for an identical patient with private insurance.


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