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New Research Shows Access to Food Improves Senior Health and Lowers Healthcare Costs

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Senior Nutrition, SNAP

New Research Shows Access to Food Improves Senior Health and Lowers Healthcare Costs

July 17, 2017
By
Dawn Secor

Benefits Data Trust (BDT) is releasing this first publication in a series of papers that outlines how increased access to SNAP impacts health and healthcare costs.  Older adults who receive SNAP are less likely to be admitted into the hospital, according to this new research paper published in Population Health Management journal out of Thomas Jefferson University. This study demonstrates the significant impact that increased SNAP participation can have on healthcare utilization and costs.  

The researchers studied all 68,956 Maryland seniors on Medicaid and Medicare (dual eligibles) with an average annual income of just $5,860. Individual-level medical claims data were cross-matched against SNAP enrollment data, and used to study the impact of SNAP on healthcare utilization and costs.

The study shows that:

  • Although they qualify, close to half of seniors on Medicaid are not enrolled in SNAP.
  • SNAP participation and greater benefit amounts reduced the odds of hospital room admittance by 14% and reduced duration of stay when seniors were admitted.
  • Among SNAP recipients, every $10 increase in monthly SNAP benefits further 
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