Access to Public Benefits among Dual Eligible Seniors Reduces Risk of Nursing Home and Hospital Admission and Cuts Costs

The healthcare sector is in the midst of a major shift as new payment models demand both improved health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs. However, little is known about whether specific non-medical interventions can positively impact health outcomes and associated healthcare costs, particularly among low-income seniors and other high-utilizers. With this research gap in mind, a cross-sector research partnership between Benefits Data Trust, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, and the Hilltop Institute at the University of Maryland Baltimore County studied the impact of access to food and energy assistance on healthcare utilization among all community-dwelling seniors (age 65+) in Maryland who received both Medicare and Medicaid (known as “dual eligibles.”) This study shows that access to food can reduce healthcare utilization for even the most vulnerable older adults.