MedPAC recommends copays for home health care

Expect an uproar from the AARP in the coming days regarding a new recommendation issued by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) Thursday that would require seniors receiving home health care to make copayments. The recommendation is an attempt to provide a check on a service that already costs taxpayers close to $20 billion annually, but currently is provided for free to patients, the Associated Press reports. 

"At the extreme, this benefit can turn into a long-term care social support system," MedPAC chairman Glenn Hackbarth said. "A modest copayment is one tool to help deal with that problem." 

The proposed fee would run around $150 for "a series of related visits." According to the AP, more than 3 million people use home health services. 

While many of the commissioners who voted on the measure expressed concern about how seniors with "modest incomes" would manage, a 13-1 vote was made in favor of passing the recommendation along to lawmakers. Low-income patients, along with recent hospital discharges, would be exempt from the copayment. 

"Most [fee-for-service] services have some cost sharing, but home health is an exception," MedPAC's presentation read. "Per-episode co-pay would encourage [the] beneficiary to assess the need for any home health, but not [the] number of visits." 

To learn more:
- read the Associated Press article
- here's MedPAC's presentation

Suggested Articles

The profit margins and management of Community Health Group raise questions about oversight of managed care insurers.

Financial experts are warning practices about the pitfalls of promoting medical credit cards to their patients.

A proposed rule issued by HHS on Tuesday would expand short-term coverage, a move Seema Verma said will have "virtually no impact" on ACA premiums.