(HealthDay News) – Programs like meals-on-wheels that help older adults live independently in the community can also yield net savings to states on the costs of long-term supports and services provided under Medicaid, according to a study published in the October issue of Health Affairs.

Kali S. Thomas, PhD, and Vincent Mor, PhD, from Brown University in Providence, RI, estimated total annual savings to states’ Medicaid programs if all states had increased by 1%  the number of adults age >65 years who received home-delivered meals in 2009 under Title III of the Older Americans Act.

The researchers found that total annual savings to states’ Medicaid programs could have exceeded $109 million. An estimated 1,722 older adults with low care needs who would no longer require nursing home care and instead could remain at home if sustained by home-delivered meals accounted for the projected savings. Expansion of home-delivered meals programs in 2009 would have resulted in 26 states realizing net savings, while 22 states would have incurred net costs.

“Programs such as home-delivered meals have the potential to provide substantial savings to some states’ Medicaid programs,” the authors write.

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