Proposed Changes to Medicare May Impact Home Care

In hopes of reducing Medicare spending, policymakers have proposed charging seniors a copay for home-based care, figuring that senior citizens will use it less if it isn’t free. Last year Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives and former President Barack Obama, a Democrat, both proposed copays for the currently free Medicare benefit. The presumed reduction in seniors’ usage, plus the copay revenues, would recoup an estimated $1.3 billion to Medicare over 10 years.

 A new study in JAMA Internal Medicine, however, casts doubt on that premise.

In all the study showed that despite the added costs, seniors with copay plans did not reduce their use of home-based care. The researchers found that rather than give up home care, seniors with co-pays were more likely to switch to plans in favor of those that didn’t charge one.

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