Medicare Home Visits May Soon Cost You

Home visits for Medicare patients may soon carry an out-of-pocket expense

Individuals receiving Medicare may notice an additional payment required for home health visits.

Congress has been discussing the various options and is looking to decrease fraud and the number of unnecessary home visits by putting a small price-tag on each admission.

Prior to this recommendation, home visits from nurses or health providers were free to Medicare patients. Due to the staggering costs of the service — nearing $20 billion annually — the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission explains a co-payment is necessary to discourage abuse of this service.

No specific amount was said by the panel, but suggestions of $150 per series of related visits were discussed. Requiring payment for most other services, the exception of payments from home visits was rather unusual.

Currently, more than 3 million people on Medicare use home health visits.

A large contributing factor to the growing costs is fraud. In some places, the number of home health admissions actually exceed the number of individuals receiving Medicare.

Experts explained that it is important to realize that the co-payment would be per admission, not per visit.