CMS: Nursing home costs slow
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid reported that Medicare spending on nursing homes has slowed compared to other services. It also lowered its cost projections for the new prescription drug benefit.Spending on nursing homes rose 4% while spending on home health services increased by 10%, CMS announced in a fact sheet released Tuesday. Medicare spending increases also occurred in physician services (by 10%) and outpatient hospital services (by 11%), CMS noted.
Meanwhile, the agency said spending on the prescription drug benefit is projected to be $110 billion lower than reported in the mid-session budget review one year ago. The reasons? Drug plans have realized more savings from "aggressive" price negotiations with drugmakers, low-cost coverage for generic drugs and less costly name-brand drugs, and other factors, according to CMS. Payments the states had to make to cover drug coverage under Part D (so-called "clawback payments") also were lower than earlier projected, CMS said.