Update on the Medicare Physician Payment Cut & COBRA Subsidy Extension

Update on the Medicare Physician Payment Cut & COBRA Subsidy Extension

In the end of May, the House passed the “extenders” bill (HR 4213), which would extend a series of expiring unemployment and tax benefits and delay the 21% cut to physicians’ Medicare payments until 2012. Physicians’ Medicare payment rates would be increased by 2.2% for the remainder of 2010 and by 1% in 2011, before the payment formula would revert to the current formula in 2012. The bill would also eliminate the extension of COBRA subsidies for unemployed workers.

The Senate, however, failed to pass the bill before their week-long Memorial day holiday break. Because the Medicare physician payment cut was set to be effective as of June 1,  CMS instructed Medicare contractors to delay processing medical claims for 10 business days, or until June 14.  This gives the Senate one week to review, amend the bill, and send it back to the House for a revote.

For more information, see the following 2 articles:

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.