August 10, 2020 • News

CMS Releases Data on COVID-19 Impact to Medicare Beneficiaries

Medicare and Covid-19

On July 29, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released information on Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with COVID-19. CMS indicated this is the first report in a monthly series they'll issue on the topic. The “Preliminary Medicare COVID-19 Data Snapshot” can be found here and covers COVID-19 diagnosed cases and hospitalizations of Medicare beneficiaries from January 1st to June 20th of 2020. During this period there were a total of 549,414 COVID-19 cases and 160,807 hospitalizations affecting Medicare beneficiaries. Overall, CMS has paid $2.8 billion in Medicare claims for COVID-19 related hospitalizations, which is an average of $25,555 per Medicare beneficiary.

A breakdown of COVID cases and hospitalizations by eligibility type [age, disability and End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD)], per 100k beneficiaries is as follows:















CMS data indicates the discharge status for COVID-19 related hospitalizations was:

  • Sent home: 27%
  • Passed away: 26%
  • Skilled Nursing Facility: 23%
  • Home Health: 12%
  • Hospice: 5%
  • Other Care Facility / Assisted Living: 6%
  • Other: 1%

Of further note, the notice indicates, “…the COVID-19 public health emergency is disproportionately affecting vulnerable populations, particularly racial and ethnic minorities. This is due, in part, to the higher rates of chronic health conditions in these populations and issues related to the social determinants of health.” Regarding this, key data points highlight:

  • Black Medicare beneficiaries are hospitalized at higher rates that other racial and ethnic groups, with 1,658 cases / 670 hospitalizations per 100k beneficiaries
  • Native Americans and Native Alaskans had the second highest rate at 1,125 cases and 505 hospitalizations per 100k beneficiaries

Moreover, beneficiaries who are dual eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, who experience higher rates of chronic illness, had much higher rates of cases and hospitalizations per 100k beneficiaries.




Dual Eligible








This data will be valuable to track over time to inform insurers, the provider community, and policy makers in planning and decision-making for Medicare beneficiaries who are diagnosed with COVID-19.


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