There is no question we are currently experiencing drastic changes in the Medicaid and Medicare world. It seems every day you can find a news article on cuts and changes in people’s benefits. Both programs are already notoriously difficult to navigate and most American’s probably don’t understand their benefits and what’s covered. As the effects of the economic downturn continue to ravage government benefits on a state and national level it’s more important than ever to be aware of the seemingly daily changes in both programs. USA Today reported on October 24th another concerning development as many states are beginning to limit hospital stays to as little as 10 days to control rising costs of Medicaid.1
Currently under most private insurance programs hospital coverage is rarely limited.1 Medicare pays for up to 90 days during a benefit period, so is it fair for Medicaid to severely limit people to as little as 10 days? Doctors and Rehab facilities already have the choice on whether to accept Medicaid patients or not, so won’t these limitations make the choice to say, ‘no’ even easier? Not to mention the pressure that this will put on hospitals. Hospitals can’t refuse to admit or discharge patients if they medically need to be there1, so in the end they are stuck with the bill after those 10 days. This will most certainly increase the overall cost of insurance programs for those who are not on Medicaid. How else will hospitals recoup the lost revenues? Then again how are states going to pay for those days with the enormous budget short falls we are seeing in today’s economy?
1Galewitz, Phil (2011, October 24). More states limiting Medicaid hospital stays. USAToday.com. Retrieved October 24, 2011, view article.