Increased Ambulatory Care Copayments and Hospitalizations among the Elderly
According to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, in plans that increased copayments for ambulatory care, mean copayments nearly doubled for both primary care ($7.38 to $14.38) and specialty care ($12.66 to $22.05). In control plans, mean copayments for primary care and specialty care remained unchanged at $8.33 and $11.38, respectively.
In the year after the rise in copayments, plans that increased cost sharing had 19.8 fewer annual outpatient visits per 100 enrollees, 2.2 additional annual hospital admissions per 100 enrollees, 13.4 more annual inpatient days per 100 enrollees, and an increase of 0.7 percentage points in the proportion of enrollees who were hospitalized, as compared with concurrent trends in control plans.
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