Effect of frailty on resource use and cost for Medicare patients

J Comp Eff Res. 2018 Aug;7(8):817-825. doi: 10.2217/cer-2018-0029. Epub 2018 May 29.


Aim: The effects of frailty and multiple chronic conditions (MCCs) on cost of care are rarely disentangled in archival data studies. We identify the marginal contribution of frailty to medical care cost estimates using Medicare data. Materials & methods: Use of the Faurot frailty score to identify differences in acute medical events and cost of care for patients, controlling for MCCs and medication use. Results: Estimated marginal cost of frailty was US$10,690 after controlling for demographics, comorbid conditions, polypharmacy and use of potentially inappropriate medications. Conclusion: Frailty contributes greatly to cost of care, but while often correlated, is not synonymous with MCCs. Thus, it is important to control separately for frailty in studies that compare medical care use and cost.

Keywords: Medicare cost; aging health; frailty.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Frail Elderly / statistics & numerical data*
  • Frailty / economics*
  • Health Resources / economics*
  • Health Resources / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Inappropriate Prescribing / economics
  • Inappropriate Prescribing / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Medicare / statistics & numerical data*
  • Polypharmacy
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • United States