House bill would raise some Medicare patient fees

Wealthier seniors would pay higher Medicare premiums, and a co-payment for home health services would be required under Medicare reform legislation introduced in the House on July 19.

House Ways & Means Committee members drafted a bill seeking to modernize patient cost sharing in Medicare, said Rep. Dave Camp (R, Mich.), the committee’s chair. The reforms would save about $60 billion combined over 10 years.

“Seniors deserve real solutions that will preserve and protect this vital program for current and future beneficiaries,” Camp said. “There has been strong bipartisan support for advancing commonsense solutions to ensure these programs are on a more fiscally sound path, and there is no reason why we cannot work together to achieve that goal.”

Home health remains one of the few Medicare benefits with no patient cost-sharing requirement. The co-pay amount would be set at $100 beginning in 2017 if the legislation were enacted.

Patients earning more than $85,000 would pay higher premiums for Part B and Part D coverage, the bill states. Beneficiaries also would see $25 increases in their deductibles in 2017, 2019 and 2021. The 2013 deductible is $147 for the year.

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