The U.S. House of Representatives voted 384-38 in favor of continuing to delay the return of Medicare sequestration. As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, this automatic 2% cut to all Medicare providers was temporarily halted in 2020, then extended through March 2021.
Although the Medicare sequestration delay expired in early April, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had not been enforcing the 2% cut. CMS expected Congress to pass the legislation extending the holiday, which was introduced in early March. The continued relief is aimed at helping all health care providers paid through Medicare, including home health providers, to stay afloat financially while continuing to provide care during the COVID-19 pandemic and transition to normalcy.
Since 2014, CMS has been cutting Medicare reimbursements to home health providers by 2% as directed by Congress. Payments exceeding Medicare’s cap must be returned to CMS. Under this continued delay, the government will defer $36 billion in previously scheduled Medicare cuts in 2021, according to an external analysis.