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381,000 Men Suffered Osteoporotic Fractures in 2016 According to a New Study

ARLINGTON, VA (August 30, 2021) — While osteoporosis, a chronic disease that leads to serious bone fractures, is often considered a women’s health concern, a new study finds that many men also suffer its worst effects. The independent actuarial firm Milliman found that 381,000 men on Medicare suffered bone fractures related to osteoporosis in 2016, the latest year for which data is available. Out of the 381,000 men, 91,000 died within 12 months of suffering the fracture. The National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) commissioned the study and is calling for greater attention to osteoporosis and needed improvements in Medicare policy to reduce the rate of fractures for both men and women.

Key findings of the study include:

  • Among those on traditional (fee-for-service) Medicare, 1.3 million Americans suffered osteoporotic fractures, of those 381,000 were men and 912,000 were women. If those who are in Medicare Advantage plans are included, approximately 1.8 million Medicare beneficiaries suffered approximately 2.1 million osteoporotic fractures in 2016.
  • Too few women are screened for osteoporosis and even fewer men receive needed screening. Only 5 percent of men and 9 of women using traditional Medicare received a BMD test within six months following a new osteoporotic fracture.
  • Of the estimated 245,000 Medicare FFS beneficiaries who died within a year after a new osteoporotic fracture, about 91,000 were men and 154,000 were women.

“This study verifies that it’s not just women who are at risk of osteoporotic fractures. We want greater awareness among men and their health care professionals about the steps that they can take to improve bone health,” said Claire Gill, CEO of the National Osteoporosis Foundation. “We need a national education and action campaign. There are some simple steps that can be taken to incentivize greater use of screening, treatment and post-fracture care that would substantially reduce the burden of osteoporosis.”

Based on the study provided by Milliman, the NOF has made the following recommendations:

  • Congress and CMS should make changes to Medicare payments to incentivize widespread use of model secondary fracture prevention/care coordination practices for beneficiaries who have suffered an osteoporosis-related fracture and are thus at risk for another fracture.
  • Cuts to Medicare payment rates for osteoporosis screening which have reduced access should be reversed either administratively or by legislation.
  • Congress should mandate and fund a national education and action initiative aimed at reducing fractures among older women and men.

The Milliman study found that about 15 percent of those who suffer a fracture suffer one or more additional fractures. The study estimates that preventing 20 percent of these second fractures for men and women can save up to $1.1 billion in Medicare spending during the follow-up period that lasts up to three years after a new fracture.

For a full copy of the report, please visit NOF’s National Bone Health Policy Institute website:
https://www.bonehealthpolicyinstitute.org/

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About the National Osteoporosis Foundation 

Established in 1984, the National Osteoporosis Foundation is the nation’s leading health organization dedicated to preventing osteoporosis and broken bones, promoting strong bones for life, and reducing human suffering through programs of awareness, education, advocacy, and research. For more information on the National Osteoporosis Foundation, visit www.nof.org.