According to George Washington University’s Face the Facts USA, chronic illness is responsible for seven out of 10 deaths in the United States, and among Medicare beneficiaries, the death ratio from chronic illness is nine out of 10 (90 percent). During the final six months of life, Medicare patients may be treated by more than 10 doctors, consuming two-thirds of all Medicare spending in the country.
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), chronic illness accounts for more than 75 percent of the healthcare costs in the U.S., and approximately 50 percent of United States residents suffer from at least one chronic illness.
Due to cultural barriers, lack of insurance and in some cases, low socioeconomic status, Hispanics are significantly affected by chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, stroke, heart disease and cancer.
According to the Chronic Condition Data Warehouse, 2 percent of Hispanics—approximately one million individuals—enrolled in Medicare during 2009.
The Dartmouth Atlas Project, which analyzes the distribution of healthcare resources, reveals end-of-life care varied significantly from one region of the nation to another; for example: New York City Medicare reimbursements during the last two years of life averaged approximately $89,500, while reimbursements for the same time frame in Dubuque, Iowa averaged approximately $35,500.
Prevention of chronic illness will be an important component in controlling Medicare spending, states the Pew Research Center, and Latinos, while a relatively young population according to the organization, will account for approximately 29 percent of United States residents by the year 2050. Because of the steadily increasing numbers of Hispanics and the group’s high rates of diabetes and obesity, a focus on preventative care is essential.