Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Medicare Caps

Medicare Caps have been a hot topic since October of last year.  If you or your loved one has suffered any type of illness or injury that required outpatient rehabilitation, then you should know about it.  Unfortunately, the news is not good.  Medicare has "capped" their payment for outpatient rehabilitation to $3700 for Occupational Therapy and $3700 for Physical and Speech Therapies combined.  What this means, is no matter how much therapy you may need, once you reach that dollar limit, your therapy is over (unless you want to pay out of pocket, of course).  This has left many, many people with no choice but to discontinue therapy because of the inability to pay.  Furthermore, many are forced to choose which discipline they need more, physical or speech therapy, since they share money.  So, is it more important to you that you be able to walk across the room or communicate your thoughts?  As ridiculous as that sounds, that is what Medicare has turned it into.   Would you rather use your Medicare money with physical therapy or speech therapy?  I work with patients all the time that have to ask themselves that question. 

My advice is that if you are in this scenario, look for other outlets once your therapy has ended.  Check out apps, computer programs, software, workbooks, therapy sessions and group sessions at local universities that have Speech Pathology programs (you can often receive therapy with students for little money out of pocket), post therapy exercise programs and support groups.  I will talk next time about specifics on those.  In the meantime, write your local senator about the Medicare Caps and how it has affected you or your loved one personally.  It certainly cannot hurt, and who knows, if we yell loud enough, we may see a change for the better one day!

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