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Minorities Have Higher End-of-Life Costs

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Dying Hispanics and black Americans have much higher treatment costs than whites, because they get more costly, intensive treatments as they near death, say researchers who analyzed data from the last six months of life of almost 160,000 Medicare patients.

The average cost for Hispanic patients in those final months of life was $31,702, compared with $26,704 for blacks and $20,166 for whites. Compared to white patients, costs were about 30 percent higher for blacks and almost 60 percent more for Hispanics, the Associated Press reported.

The study was published Monday in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.

The researchers noted that throughout their lives, minorities are less likely than whites to get aggressive medical care. So these findings suggest medical resources for minority patients may be "misallocated over a lifetime," with minority patients receiving more treatment when there's little chance of improving or extending their lives, the AP reported.

The study didn't look at why minorities receive more expensive end-of-life care.

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