Patients who generate huge medical bills one year may be low-cost patients the following year.[@@]

Analysts at the Congressional Budget Office have published data exploring the relationship between chronic health problems and claims in a new report on high-cost Medicare beneficiaries.

The analysts found that beneficiaries who ran up huge bills in one year were more likely than other beneficiaries to run up big bills later on. But 56% of Medicare beneficiaries who were high-cost beneficiaries in 1997 were low-cost beneficiaries in 1998.

The report is on the Web at http://www.cbo.gov/showdoc.cfm?index=6332&sequence=0.