222181 Burden of Falling on Quality of Life Among Older Adults with Medicare Supplement Insurance

Monday, November 8, 2010

Kevin Hawkins, PhD , Ingenix, Brooklyn, MI
Ming Bai, MD , Bus Advisory & Actuarial Svcs, Ingenix Consulting, Rocky Hill, CT
Shirley Musich, PhD , Advanced Analytics, OptumInsight, Ann Arbor, MI
Ronald J. Ozminkowski, PhD , Advanced Analytics, OptumInsight, Ann Arbor, MI
Richard Migliori, MD , UnitedHealth Group Alliances, Minnetonka, MN
Charlotte S. Yeh, MD , AARP Services Inc., Washington, DC
Research Objective: To estimate the burden of falling on quality of life (QoL) among older adults with AARP® Medicare Supplement (i.e., Medigap) Insurance underwritten by UnitedHealthcare (or UnitedHealthcare of New York for insureds residing there).

Study Design: A mail survey was sent to a random sample of 1,500 Medigap insureds in each of 10 states in 2008. The Medicare Health Outcomes Survey was used, but renamed the Health Update Survey (HUS) for use with a Medigap sample.

Population Studied: 5,875 (39%) of the sample members responded to the study. About 21% (1,212) fell sometime in the last year; 17% (1,000) did not fall but reported balance or walking problems so were at high risk of falling; and 62% (3,663) were in the low-risk, no-fall comparison group.

Principle Findings: Multiple regression analyses showed the strongest predictors of falling or being at high risk of falling to be advancing age, obesity, heart conditions, stroke, respiratory issues, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, sciatica, diabetes, and hearing problems. Having more of these problems increased the likelihood of falling or being at risk of falling. Average physical (PCS) and mental component scores (MCS) were about 5.6 and 3.1 points lower, respectively (p < 0.001 in both cases) for those who fell, than among the comparison group. Likewise, those at risk of falling averaged significantly lower PCS (-9.11, p<0.0001) and MCS (-2.85, p<0.0001) scores.

Conclusions: Falling or being at risk of falling had a stronger negative influence on QoL than most of the comorbidities measured.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Biostatistics, economics
Chronic disease management and prevention

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the burden of falling on quality of life among older adults with AARP® Medicare Supplement Insurance.

Keywords: Quality of Life, Medicare

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conduct and supervise health Services Research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.