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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


FERRAZ, Marcos Bosi et al. Health care costs in the last four years of life for private health plan beneficiaries in Brazil. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2008, vol.24, n.2, pp.120-126. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVE: To examine health care use and expenditures by Brazilians covered by private health care plans in the last four years of life. METHODS: Health plan provider enrollee files and death certificate data were used for 274 health plan beneficiaries who died in 1998, 1999, and 2000. Resources used for a beneficiary in the year of death and in the three years prior to death were identified. Descriptive statistical analyses were used for clinical and socio-demographic characteristics and to describe the costs. RESULTS: Of the 274 deaths included in this analysis, 92 occurred in 1998, 82 in 1999, and 100 in 2000. Most of the deceased were males (61.4%). Distribution in terms of type of health plan coverage (full versus hospitalization-only coverage) was similar among beneficiaries (53% had hospitalization only and 47% had full coverage). The total health plan expenditure in the last four years of life for the 274 decedents was US$ 26 300 283 (US$ 12 287 723 for beneficiaries with hospitalization-only and US$ 14 012 560 for those with full coverage). Expenditures increased progressively in the four years preceding death. About 70% of medical expenses for decedents in the four years of this analysis were incurred in the last year of life. CONCLUSION: Relatively large amounts of health care resources are used by Brazilian private health plan participants in their last year of life, suggesting that specific strategies are needed to optimize the allocation of medical care resources for these patients.

Keywords : Death; health care costs; insurance; health; terminal care; Brazil.

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