Medicare pushes for preventive treatments, payments increase

August 15, 2004

Washington, DC-The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing new benefits to help beneficiaries gain access to preventive services and an across-the-board 1.5% increase in payment rates to physicians caring for them.

Washington, DC-The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing new benefits to help beneficiaries gain access to preventive services and an across-the-board 1.5% increase in payment rates to physicians caring for them.

The new payments are part of the Physician Fee Schedule for 2005.

The proposal to increase benefits is geared to promote a more modern prevention-based system. It includes a physical for all new Medicare beneficiaries who will receive a variety of screenings and a plan to increase Medicare payments for new drugs, saving beneficiaries about $270 million.

Medicare will increase its spending for more than 875,000 physicians and other health-care professionals by more than 4% from a projected $52.7 billion in 2004 to about $55 billion in 2005. The payment calls for a 1.5% increase in 2004 and 2005, avoiding a projected update of -3.7% for 2005 under previous law.

Comments on the proposals, which were published in the Aug. 5 Federal Register, will be accepted until Sept. 24.

The final rule is expected by Nov. 1 and would take effect Jan. 1.