RAND Roybal Center for Health Policy Simulation

The Future Elderly Model

The Future Elderly Model (FEM) is a demographic and economic simulation model designed to predict the future costs and health status of the elderly and explore what current trends or future shifts imply for policy. Developed by Dana Goldman and his colleagues at the Roybal Center, the model uses a representative sample of approximately 100,000 Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and over drawn from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Surveys, national surveys that ask Medicare beneficiaries about chronic conditions, use of health care services, medical care spending, and health insurance coverage. Each beneficiary in the sample is linked to Medicare claims records to track actual medical care use and costs over time.

In September 2005, the journal Health Affairs published a special supplement that featured analyses based on the FEM. Entitled “Health and Costs of the Future Elderly,” this special collection of papers examines on a topic central to both health policy and public finance: the evolution of Medicare spending as the U.S. population over age 65 continues to grow during the next quarter-century. The papers focus on issues that are key to understanding this evolution: the health status of Medicare beneficiaries over time and the relationships between technological progress and health spending.

For a summary of these papers, read the RAND research brief:

Modeling the Health and Medical Care Spending of the Future Elderly — 2008

Dana P. Goldman, David M. Cutler, Paul G. Shekelle, Jay Bhattacharya, Baoping Shang, Geoffrey F. Joyce, Michael Hurd, Dawn Matsui, Sydne Newberry, Constantijn (Stan) Panis, M. W. Rich, Catherine K. Su, Emmett B. Keeler, Darius N. Lakdawalla, Matthew E. Chernew, Feng Pan, Eduardo Ortiz, Robert H. Brook, A. M. Garber, Shannon Rhodes

To browse these papers, see the links below.

Health and Costs of the Future Elderly

Health Affairs Web Exclusive
September 26, 2005

Goldman DP, Shang B, Bhattacharya J, Garber AM, Hurd M, Joyce GF, Lakdawalla D, Panis C, Shekelle P. Consequences of Health Trends and Medical Innovation for the Elderly of the Future, Health Affairs — Web Exclusive, September 26, 2005, pp. W5-R3-W5-R15.

Joyce GF, Keeler EB, Shang B, Goldman DP. The Lifetime Burden of Chronic Disease Among the Elderly, Health Affairs — Web Exclusive, September 26, 2005, pp. W5-R16-W5-R27.

Lakdawalla DN, Goldman DP, Shang B. The Health and Cost Consequences of Obesity Among the Future Elderly, Health Affairs — Web Exclusive, September 26, 2005, pp. W5-R28-W5-R39.