Monday, February 1, 2010
Increasing insurance co-pays is "an ill-advised cost containment strategy" according to a new study in the New England Journal.of Medicine. The study found that, when Medicare plans raise co-payments for outpatient care, older people cut back on doctors’ visits, then wind up needing more expensive hospital care, a new study reports.
The study compared patients whose Medicare plans had almost doubled co-payments to similar plans that kept co-payments steady. The higher co-pay plans saw a slower initial increase in outpatient visits, but an additional 2.2 additional hospital admissions per year, 13.4 more annual inpatient days and a 0.7 percent increase in the number of enrollees who had been hospitalized.