Get ready for FEHBP cuts

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

ORLANDO, Fla. - A bill to repeal Medicare reimbursement cuts scheduled for 2005 has gained significant support in the House of Representatives but most likely won’t be voted on this year.

That’s the bad news. The good news is that, on average, the cuts to eight key DME items will average 40% less than expected, Cara Bachenheimer, Invacare’s vice president of government relations reported during an educational session at October’s Medtrade.

The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 mandated that CMS reduce reimbursement for the eight items based on Federal Employees Health Benefit Plans (FEHBP).

As of mid November, 104 representatives had signed on as co-sponsors of H.R. 4491, which would repeal those FEHBP cuts. The industry is still drumming up support for the bill, but it’s also unlikely that a lame duck Congress will pass it, Bachenheimer said.

“The bill is not dead,” she said. “We can resurrect it next year, but in 2005, we will probably be focused on competitive bidding - coming up with alternatives and appealing to members of congress to make sure that it doesn’t happen.”