Noteworthy News

Medicaid Primary Care Rates to Rise

Rates for primary care services covered by Medicaid will rise upon implementation of a new regulation recently published in draft form by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Under the proposed regulation, states will pay Medicare-level rates for Medicaid-covered primary care services in 2013 and 2014.  Medicare rates generally are higher for such services, and under the proposed regulation the federal government, not the states, will pay for the difference between Medicare and Medicaid rates.

This new policy was mandated by the Affordable Care Act.  In addition to raising fee-for-service rates, states will be expected to revise agreements with Medicaid managed care plans to ensure that they, too, pay the better rates.

The higher rates should be especially beneficial for urban safety-net hospitals because of the large numbers of Medicaid patients they serve.

Proponents of the higher rates believe they will improve access to primary care services for the Medicaid population and possibly reduce future Medicaid costs by helping recipients get more timely care and thereby avoid more serious illnesses.

Learn more about the proposed Medicaid rate increase in a Commonwealth Fund blog entry and find the entire proposed regulation hereFirst Aid.  Interested parties have until June 11 to submit written comments to CMS.

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