Effects of Caps on Cost Sharing for Skilled Nursing Facility Services in Medicare Advantage Plans


To evaluate a federal regulation effective in 2011 that limited how much that Medicare Advantage (MA) plans could charge for the first 20 days of care in a skilled nursing facility (SNF).


Difference-in-differences retrospective analysis comparing SNF utilization trends from 2008–2012.


Select MA plans.


Members of 27 plans with mandatory cost sharing reductions (n=132,000) and members of 21 plans without such reductions (n=138,846).


Mean monthly number of SNF admissions and days per 1,000 members; annual proportion of MA enrollees exiting the plan.


In plans with mandated cost sharing reductions, cost sharing for the first 20 days of SNF care decreased from an average of $2,039 in 2010 to $992 in 2011. In adjusted analyses, plans with mandated cost-sharing reductions averaged 158.1 SNF days (95% confidence interval (CI)=153.2–163.1 days) per 1,000 members per month before the cost sharing cap. This measure increased by 14.3 days (95% CI=3.8–24.8 days, p=0.009) in the 2 years after cap implementation. However, increases in SNF utilization did not significantly differ between plans with and without mandated cost-sharing reductions (adjusted between-group difference: 7.1 days per 1,000 members, 95% CI=–6.5–20.8, p=.30). Disenrollment patterns did not change after the cap took effect.


When a federal regulation designed to protect MA members from high out-of-pocket costs for postacute care took effect, the use of SNF services did not change.

from Journal of the American Geriatrics Society http://ift.tt/2HoSxVu