Home health co-pay could drive up hospital costs

The home healthcare segment is concerned about a potential patient co-payment for services that could cost the industry millions of dollars a year, reports Healthcare Finance News.

A MedPAC advisory panel noted that about $19 billion a year was spent on home healthcare services in 2009. The use of a $150 per-episode co-payment would reduce Medicare spending on home health by as much as $750 million in 2012, and a minimum of $1 billion over five years.

Although such a co-payment is expected to reduce the use of unnecessary services, doing so could come with a steeper price down the line.

"When people don't get the outpatient services they need or they forgo outpatient services they need because of a copayment then they're more likely to experience an adverse health event and end up in the hospital," said Emil Parker, a director of Washington, D.C.-based Avalere Health.

Avalere calculated that introducing a co-payment could drive up hospital costs by $6 billion to $13 billion over a decade.

To learn more:
- read the Healthcare Finance News article
- read the Avalere Health report (.pdf)