Federal lawmakers push for more Medicare benefits at home

A new bipartisan bill in Congress hopes to address Medicare's looming insolvency issue by moving more care into the home, Politico reported April 21.

Medicare's hospital insurance trust fund is projected to run out in 2031, three years later than forecasted in last year's report. Once the fund is depleted in 2031, the program's income will only be able to provide 89 percent of scheduled benefits to Medicare enrollees. 

In the proposed legislation, a new benefit would be created for Medicare beneficiaries to have an in-home clinician for up to 12 hours a week if they aren't eligible for Medicaid.

Physicians would receive monthly payments for care instead of fee-for-service, and reimbursement for home-based services like dialysis and lab tests would be expanded. HHS would also be required to study if other services could be moved into the home.

Payers, providers and telehealth companies have all signaled their support for the legislation, along with venture capital and technology groups. Specifically, Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Health, Best Buy's Current Health, and DaVita have all expressed support.

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