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Of nearly 800,000 people on whom the studies reported, 36.7 percent completed some kind of advance directive. Of those, 29.3 percent completed living wills, 33.4 percent health care proxies and 32.2 percent were “undefined,” meaning the type of advance directive wasn’t specified or combined the two.

People older than 65 were significantly more likely to complete any type of advance directive than younger ones, 45.6 percent vs. 31.6 percent. But the difference between people who were healthy and those who were sick was much smaller, 32.7 percent compared with 38.2 percent.

The Medicare program began reimbursing physicians in January 2016 for counseling beneficiaries about advance-care planning.

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Image: By Jacob Windham from Mobile, USA – Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=348530

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