Medicare Budget Cuts Could Impact Medicare Advantage, Hospice Care
Los Angeles Times
Medicare benefits through some private plans will undergo big changes and that Medicare Advantage plans, which sometimes offer a larger array of benefits for certain enrollees, will be most affected. The Los Angeles Times reports that, "
Frustrated by higher costs associated with the alternative program, the Obama administration recently put providers on notice that reimbursements could fall and plans with low enrollment could be scrapped next year as the nation deals with financial issues in Medicare and Social Security." Experts urge Medicare participants to learn about specific changes affecting their plans before enrollment season begins Nov. 15
CQ HealthBeat reports that lobbies for hospice programs and hospitals have rallied together to enlist the support of lawmakers to protest proposed cuts to hospice programs due to start in October. The president previously created a one-year moratorium that temporarily rejected the cuts, but that moratorium is expected to expire at the end of September. On May 21, a total of 171 House members sent a letter to President Obama urging him to rescind an August 2008 regulation that revises Medicare hospice payments by phasing out something called the "budget neutrality factor," CQ HealthBeat reports. The letter warns that more than 3,000 jobs may be lost and that "hospice programs across the country, particularly smaller and rural ones, are at risk of closing their doors unless the regulation is permanently rescinded" (Reichard, 5/22).
reports that home-care nurses visited Capitol Hill May 14 to protest a suggested $13 billion in cuts to Medicare home health benefits under the Obama administration's 2010 proposed budget. The Daily Press notes that "the cuts are being proposed despite research that shows that not only do 90 percent of seniors prefer home care to institutional care, but it's vastly more cost effective. The average home care visit costs Medicare $150, the average day in the hospital $1,500" (Salasky, 5/23).
reports that terminally ill patients delay talk of hospice, according to a recent study published by Harvard Medical School.
The report also found that African-Americans and Hispanics were even less likely than whites and Asians to discuss hospice. The Globe notes that, "Some studies have recently concluded that hospice care can substantially lower costs for many terminal illnesses, and may often be more in line with what patients want"
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