In a recently released report, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission – an independent agency created in 1997 to advise the U.S. Congress on issues affecting Medicare – recommended several strategies to contain medical costs, the Washington Post reports.
By shifting nearly 9 million high-cost beneficiaries with both Medicare and Medicaid into managed care plans, service coordination would be improved, and the likelihood of duplicate payments and services reduced, the source notes. According to the committee, this could save as much as $12 million between 2012 and 2020.
Instating a policy under which physicians who make extensive use of imaging services must receive prior approval from the government could save Medicare $1 billion over five years, MedPAC estimates.
Limiting private insurers' ability to fully prevent seniors from paying out-of-pocket costs is also likely to result in savings, along with making changes to Medigap policies.
According to officials, Vice President Joe Biden is currently in talks with lawmakers to consider the options, and hopefully find savings to help the administration and congressional Republicans agree on an increase to the nation's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, the news source reports.