Home Health Study Highlights Who Medicare Cuts Will Impact

New analyses on home health beneficiaries highlights suggests older women and minorities will be disproportionately impacted from cuts to Medicare reimbursements stemming from the Affordable Care Act.

A majority of home health beneficiaries and caregivers are women, and Medicare home health beneficiaries are among the most vulnerable of all Medicare beneficiaries, finds analysis completed by Avalere Health and Dobson DaVanzo & Associates, released Monday by the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare.

More than 60% of Medicare home health beneficiaries are women, and around 90% of registered nurses, occupational therapists, and home health aides—professionals commonly employed by home health agencies—are also women. Additionally, Medicare beneficiaries receiving home health services are older, poorer, sicker, and more likely to be minorities compared to the rest of the Medicare beneficiary population. 


“These data underscore that the deep cut to Medicare home health resulting from the Affordable Care Act poses a disproportionate risk to women and vulnerable seniors,” said Eric Berger, CEO of the Partnership, in a statement. “According to Administration estimates, ‘approximately 40 percent’ of all home health agencies will experience net losses as a result of the Obamacare home health cut.”

The new data demonstrates that women will most feel the impact of the cuts, along with the vulnerable patients they serve, Berger added.

In the next four years, the Medicare home health benefit is getting a 14% funding cut through a 3.5%-a-year rebating adjustment implemented by the Obama Administration on January 1 under authority of the Affordable Care Act. The administration has estimated it will result in approximately 40% of all home health providers operating at a lost by 2017.


An estimated 498,000 jobs are at risk, according to the analysis, which used the 2011 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey Access to Care File and data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and HRSA. 

“Without continued access to high-quality, clinically-effective care provided in the Medicare program’s lowest-cost setting – the home – many of these vulnerable patients will have no other choice but to obtain the care they need in more expensive institutional care settings,” Berger said. 

The Partnership called on lawmakers to protect “vulnerable patients” from adverse impact from additional cuts to the Medicare home health benefit and urged the Obama Administration to moderate the existing ACA cuts.

Access the full Avalere analysis. 

Written by Alyssa Gerace

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