Volume 52 | Number 5 | October 2017

Abstract List

Wendy Yi Xu Ph.D., Jeah Kyoungrae Jung Ph.D.


Consuming low‐value health care not only highlights inefficient resource use but also brings an important concern regarding the economics of disparities. We identify the relation of socioeconomic characteristics to the use of low‐value cancer screenings in Medicare fee‐for‐service () settings, and quantify the amount subsidized from nonusers and taxpayers to users of these screenings.

Data Sources

2007–2013 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, Medicare claims, and the Area Health Resource Files.

Study Design

Our sample included enrollees in Part B for the entire calendar year. We excluded beneficiaries with a claims‐documented or self‐reported history of targeted cancers, or those enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare Advantage plans. We identified use of low‐value Pap smears, mammograms, and prostate‐specific antigen tests based on established algorithms, and estimated a logistic model with year dummies separately for each test.

Data Collection/Extraction Methods

Secondary data analyses.

Principal Findings

We found a statistically significant positive association between privileged socioeconomic characteristics and use of low‐value screenings. Having higher income and supplemental private insurance strongly predicted more net subsidies from Medicare.


enrollees who are better off in terms of sociodemographic characteristics receive greater subsidies from taxpayers for using low‐value cancer screenings.