Final Stimulus Package Includes Partial Relief from 2021 Medicare Reimbursement Cuts to Audiology
On December 21, 2020, Congress passed a new stimulus package that includes provisions to mitigate planned Medicare reimbursement cuts for a variety of providers, including audiologists.
Higher reimbursement for evaluation and management (E&M) services slated to go into effect on January 1, 2021, would have triggered corresponding reimbursement cuts for a variety of providers and would have impacted audiology services by -6 percent.
The stimulus bill adds an additional $3 billion to the Physician Fee Schedule, likely reducing the cuts to audiology reimbursement by 3.75 percent over CY21. Additionally, the bill pauses the Medicare sequester cuts through March 31, 2021, postponing further the 2 percent cuts across all reimbursement rates scheduled for CY21. The Academy will monitor for further interpretation from Centers Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The legislation also includes provisions to protect patients from surprise billing, leaving patients only to pay in-network cost-sharing thus limiting their liability from out-of-network providers. As this moves over to implementation pending signature by President Trump, the Academy will stay involved in the regulatory process to protect the interests of audiology.
The Academy will continue to review and analyze the nearly $2.4 trillion stimulus and spending bill. Throughout 2020, the Academy has been a member of a coalition of physician and non-physician providers who have been actively lobbying to secure some relief from the planned reductions.