Stroke Advocacy-Action Alert3.23.14
Possible Changes in Post-Rehab Benefits for Stroke Survivors on Medicare
In less than two weeks, stroke survivors who depend on Medicare will face a new challenge in their post stroke recovery. If Congress does not act by March 31, these survivors will be restricted to $1,920 worth of outpatient therapy services per year. Now is the time for you to take a moment and contact your representatives in Congress to ensure these services are protected—it only takes a minute to make a difference.
According to the National Institutes of Health, many stroke survivors require intensive rehabilitation services–sometimes at least 3 hours per day 5 or 6 days per week. Others with less severe symptoms will still need some level of care which often exceeds the caps. Unfortunately, stroke survivors who rely on Medicare are subject to financial caps on outpatient therapy services (physical, speech and occupational). This means that under regular Medicare rules, the costs of any necessary services exceeding $1,920 per year would come directly from the patient’s pocket. Currently, an exceptions process provides some relief from these outpatient therapy caps, but not for long without action by Congress.
If you’re not on Medicare, why should you be involved? Although the therapy cap applies only to those on Medicare, stroke survivors with private insurance could eventually be impacted as well. This is because many private insurance companies follow Medicare’s lead. And, of course, speaking up as a community significantly increases the power of our message. Congress created the Medicare therapy caps in 1997 and has acted 10 times to provide limited flexibility to those who need more therapy services. It’s time to protect the stroke community’s access to therapy services before it’s too late.
How can you help? Take a minute and contact your representatives in Congress with a pre-written message (which you can personalize) or a phone call to their offices. Help us help the entire stroke community by taking action today!
Categorized in: SSA News