Black Americans four times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19: Medicare data

Black Americans four times more likely to be hospitalized for COVID-19: Medicare data
© Aaron Schwartz

Black Americans were nearly four times more likely than white Americans to be hospitalized with COVID-19 among people with Medicare, according to data released by the government. 

Black Americans with Medicare made up 465 coronavirus hospitalizations per 100,000 enrollees, according to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) release Monday

That is nearly four times the rate for whites, which was 123 per 100,000 enrollees, according to The Associated Press.

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The rate for Hispanics was roughly double the rate for whites, at 258 hospitalizations per 100,000, according to the CMS release. 

The CMS analysis confirms reports, including from the AP, that the coronavirus has impacted black and Hispanic Americans at disproportionate rates. 

People eligible for Medicare because they have end stage renal disease, however, had the highest COVID-19 hospitalization rate, with 1,341 cases per 100,000 beneficiaries, according to the CMS analysis. 

CMS administrator Seema Verma told the AP the analysis "reconfirms long-standing issues around disparities and vulnerable populations."

She added that "race and ethnicity are far from the only story." 

The federal agency also said that beneficiaries enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid have a higher rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations, with 473 hospitalizations per 100,000 beneficiaries. The rate for people enrolled only in Medicare is 112 hospitalizations per 100,000, according to the government data. 

More than 325,000 people on Medicare were diagnosed with COVID-19 between Jan. 1 and May 16, and 110,000 people on Medicare were hospitalized with a COVID-19 diagnosis this year through May 16, based on the data. 

Medicare payments for fee-for-service hospitalizations totaled $1.9 billion, with an average cost of $23,094 per hospitalization, CMS said.