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Key Findings Details

Cognitive Ability and Retiree Health Care Expenditure
Hanming Fang, Lauren Nicholas and Daniel Silverman
WP 2010-230

  • Those with less cognitive ability spend more on health care because they are in worse health.
  • Using Health and Retirement Study records linked to Medicare data, we find no evidence that those with lower cognitive ability are differentially receiving unnecessary procedures or care.
  • Much, but not all, of the relationship between cognitive function and health expenditure can be explained by observable health conditions, such as chronic conditions, physical limitations, and self-reported health.

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