Medicare Home Health Benefits Likely Cut

Home health care providers face likely Medicare payment cuts next year according to experts.

According to a report published today, two companies, Gentiva Health Services and Amedisys are among the providers of at-home health care to receive lower Medicare payments next year under U.S. government changes to the program. 

A 4.89 percent reduction in home health spending for the elderly is among annual modifications in Medicare affecting hospitals, doctors and providers in the United States. Most rates take effect in January, though payments for doctors start to drop Dec. 1, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a statement this week.

“Cuts are consistent with a need to reduce expenditures at the Federal level,” explains Jesse Slome, executive director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance.  “The recent election showed that the populace doesn’t want the government borrowing and spending money it doesn’t have.  It’s very likely more cuts will be coming.”

A panel that advised Congress on Medicare issues found in 2008 that home health agencies were making 17 percent profits on their Medicare business. 

“If you are in your 50s and counting on Medicare to look the same when you qualify for benefits, you are likely to be surprised,” concludes Slome.

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