Strokes, surgeries, and trauma from falls or other injuries sometimes result in patients needing extensive care by physical, occupational or speech therapists. But because of inaction by Congress, many seniors on Medicare are facing expensive out-of-pocket costs for treatments they need to remain independent.
A failure by Congress to repeal a harsh limit on therapy treatments poses very real financial and medical threats to seniors already struggling from strokes or debilitating conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Some could be forced to ration care. Others may simply not be able to afford as many therapy sessions as they need, putting them in danger of new injuries.
This year, the annual limits are $2,010 for both physical therapy and speech-language pathology (SLP) combined, and a separate $2,010 for occupational therapy.
AARP is urging Congress to promptly repeal the limit on therapy services so that millions of vulnerable older Americans and people with disabilities get vitally needed rehabilitation services.
Rehabilitation services are critical for seniors to maintain their independence so they can remain in their homes. Therapy also helps to avoid costly nursing home care or hospitalizations that can bankrupt those who are already struggling with high health care costs.
Seniors have worked hard and paid into Medicare their whole lives. Congress needs to immediately fix this harmful policy so seniors can get the rehabilitation services they need.
Stephanie Hunsinger, State Director
AARP New Jersey