health insurance, health policy, medicare, post-acute care, prospective payment system



  1. Kulesher, Robert R. PhD


The prospective payment system is one of many changes in reimbursement that has affected the delivery of health care. Originally developed for the payment of inpatient hospital services, it has become a major factor in how all health insurance is reimbursed. The policy implications extend beyond the Medicare program and affect the entire health care delivery system. Initially implemented in 1982 for payments to hospitals, prospective payment system was extended to payments for skilled nursing facility and home health agency services by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. The intent of the Balanced Budget Act was to bring into balance the federal budget through reductions in spending. The decisions that providers have made to mitigate the impact are a function of ownership type, organizational mission, and current level of Medicare participation. This article summarizes the findings of several initial studies on the Balanced Budget Act's impact and discusses how changes in Medicare reimbursement policy have influenced the delivery of health care for the general public and for Medicare beneficiaries.