Friday, January 14, 2011

New Medicare out-of-pocket home health care expenses for Seniors on the horizon?

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission suggested Thursday one strategy to cut health care spending; the strategy would force Medicare recipients who receive home health care to pay an out-of-pocket cost.  The proposed cost is not yet certain, though sources suggest the amount may be around $150 for a series of visits.  Medicare home health care costs have steadily increased and have reached a point of about $20 billion per year, according to BusinessWeek.  Home health care can encompass home visits from care workers, nurses, therapists, and other health professionals. 

The strategy may come as unwelcome news for Medicare recipients who receive home health care.  Home health care has been free for patients, but amidst the pressures to control the federal deficit, the advisory panel is re-evaluating aspects of Medicare. 

If this suggestion becomes law, more than 3 million seniors will be affected. 
The rationale for paying for the home health care costs in the past has been based on the fact that it is cheaper to care for a person in their own home as opposed to in a hospital. 

For a description of various types of in-home care providers, describes the similarities and differences between medical professionals, home health aides, and home care aides in this useful article.  The AARP Seniors lobby is one group opposing the proposed strategy outlined above.

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