Access to Care for Medicare-Medicaid Dually Eligible Beneficiaries: The Role of State Medicaid Payment Policies
Study Objectives Medicaid programs are not required to pay the full Medicare coinsurance and deductibles for Medicare-Medicaid dually eligible beneficiaries. We examined the association between the percentage of Medicare cost sharing paid by Medicaid and the likelihood that a dually eligible beneficiary used evaluation and management (E&M) services and safety net provider services. Data Sources Medicare and Medicaid Analytic eXtract enrollment and claims data for 2009. Study Design Multivariate analyses used fee-for-service dually eligible and Medicare-only beneficiaries in 20 states. A comparison group of Medicare-only beneficiaries controlled for state factors that might influence utilization. Principal Findings Paying 100 percent of the Medicare cost sharing compared to 20 percent increased the likelihood (relative to Medicare-only) that a dually eligible beneficiary had any E&M visit by 6.4 percent. This difference in the percentage of cost sharing paid decreased the likelihood of using safety net providers, by 37.7 percent for federally qualified health centers and rural health centers, and by 19.8 percent for hospital outpatient departments. Conclusions Reimbursing the full Medicare cost-sharing amount would improve access for dually eligible beneficiaries, although the magnitude of the effect will vary by state and type of service.