Saying this is "a big breakthrough day," Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius on Friday announced three efforts she says will help states lower their share of costs for approximately nine million people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid benefits.
These so-called "dual eligibles "make up just 15% of Medicaid beneficiaries but account for almost 40% of the (Medicaid) cost, even though Medicare also pays for part of the care" because these people have significant health needs, Sebelius said. Also, she says, the fact that they must navigate between two separate programs "can make it more likely that they receive fragmented, inefficient, or duplicative care."
Ways to help states lower their share of Medicaid costs are even more important now, as federal subsidies to states from the American Recovery and Investment Act expired as of July 1. "The only way to stabilize Medicaid costs without drastic cuts to eligibility, slashes to benefits, or provider payments is finding ways to slow the growth in spending on patients with the most complex needs."
The three programs include: