COVID-19 is disparately impacting older adults, people with disabilities and those with underlying health conditions, communities of color, and people with limited income and wealth. By definition, all individuals dually enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid experience at least two of these risk factors. Unfortunately, data has shown that these risk factors have materialized into worse outcomes: dual-eligible enrollees are almost 4 times more likely to be infected with COVID-19 and 4.5 times more likely to be hospitalized compared to Medicare-only enrollees. Even worse, at the intersection of race and class, Black dually eligible individuals experienced 1.25 times as many infections and almost 2 times as many hospitalizations as white dually eligible individuals.
Our new issue brief provides 8 recommendations for health plans serving dually eligible individuals to stop this trend by directly addressing these risk factors using targeted, equity-centered approaches.