End-of-life care more costly for minorities

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Racial disparities persist when it comes to the cost of end-of-life care, according to a new study.

The average cost to Medicare for white end-of-life patients is $20,166, while treatments for black patients cost $26,704. Hispanic patients receive an average of $31,702 in Medicare end-of-life treatments, according to the report. Authors note that the minority groups were not charged more for services. Rather, the services received were more invasive and intensive and therefore more costly.

While the study itself did not delve into reasons for the disparities, study authors suggest that cultural or spiritual attitudes may come into play. Some minorities are reluctant to hasten death by stopping treatment, they note. The report appears in the March 9 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.
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