Yesterday, Congress passed and the President signed a bill that funds the federal government through December 11, setting the stage for negotiations around a more comprehensive spending package later this year.
The short-term continuing resolution (CR) also includes several health care “extenders,” ensuring these Medicare and Medicaid programs have the resources they need to operate in the coming months. Among the continued initiatives is essential funding to support those who need low-income assistance through the Medicare Savings Programs, financial protections for people whose spouses are on Medicaid and in a nursing home or long-term care facility, and Medicaid’s Money follows the Person program, which supports individuals who wish to leave nursing facilities and return to their homes.
The bill also preemptively caps standard Medicare Part B premiums for next year at the 2020 amount plus 25% of the difference between the 2020 amount and a preliminary amount for 2021. The preliminary amount will be calculated in the same way that it would have been in the absence of this bill. In instituting this cap, Congress is aiming to reduce the potential for dramatic changes in premiums that may have otherwise occurred as a result of growing Medicare Part B costs during and due to the COVID-19 public health emergency, coupled with a limited or absent Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2021.
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