HHS Report: The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Medicare Beneficiary Use of Health Care Services and Payments to Providers: Early Data for the First 6 Months of 2020

October 16, 2020
Policy Snapshot

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a new report outlining Medicare spending on various health care settings during the pandemic. Page 4 of the report outlines such spending for skilled nursing facilities (SNF). Key findings of the report included:

  • Medicare beneficiary utilization of services declined substantially beginning in mid-March 2020, bottomed out the week ending April 8, and increased through June.
  • Payments for all fee-for-service (FFS) claims declined by 39% in the week ending April 8, 33% for inpatient services and 49% for physician services.
  • By the week ending July 1, weekly payments had nearly returned to 2019 levels; they had risen to 96% of the comparable week in 2019 for all claims, 93% for inpatient services, and 95% for physician services.
  • At the end of June, cumulative year-to-date payment deficits relative to 2019 ranged from 12-16% for these service categories.
  • Utilization of individual preventive screening and surgical services declined substantially during March and April and increased through June. Mammography preventive screening services have returned to pre-COVID levels, colonoscopies to 85% of pre-COVID levels.
  • There is geographic variation in the magnitude of both the utilization declines and the rate of recovery.

Read the full report.