Medicare, the federal health care program for Americans age 65 or older, spends $6.7 billion more a year for enrollees who are socially isolated than for those who are more connected to their communities. The added spending averages $134 a month per socially isolated enrollee. Such enrollees generally are sicker and more likely to be admitted to a nursing home after hospitalization than more-connected Medicare recipients.

Source: “Medicare Spends More on Socially Isolated Older Adults,” AARP Public Policy Institute, November 2017,

Data for the graphic are as follows:

Condition Monthly Cost per Enrollee (in millions)
Diabetes $270
Heart disease $241
High blood pressure $163
Social Isolation $134
Arthritis $117

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