According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, seniors are sacrificing medical care when copayments for office visits increase which in turn increases the amount of time as inpatients in hospitals.
Researchers from Brown University’s Warren Alpert Medical School analyzed the behavior patterns of 899,060 Medicare beneficiaries from 36 plans during a five year span. For those plans that increased copayments for office visits, they nearly doubled for both primary care (from $7.38 to $14.38 and specialty care as well.
Looking at these plans where the copayments elevated, there were 19.8 fewer yearly outpatient visits per 100 enrollees and 2.2 additional yearly hospital admissions per 100 enrollees.
Now that medicare reimbursement rates have been slashed by 21%, seniors may not be able to even find a physician willing to accept their medicare coverage, let alone pay for the additional copay. Thus, even if a senior could afford the increase, their medical options are becoming limited.
This picture is a catastrophe in the making if we do not alter this path that we are on…. And aren’t our seniors worth it?