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Growing numbers of patients needing intravenous medications are getting their treatments at home. But a gap in Medicare coverage is making it harder for older and sicker patients to swap hospital stays for home care.

Hundreds of new intravenous drugs and biologic products have come on the market in recent years to treat maladies such as infections, cancer and chronic diseases. Administering these medications at home generally costs $150 to $200 a day, far below the $1,500-to-$2,500-a-day cost of a typical inpatient hospital stay. Home-infusion therapy also eliminates the risk that patients will be exposed to infections caused by hospital bacteria that can invade through IV lines and catheters.

Eyeing the potential for savings, many private insurers provide full coverage for home-infusion therapy. But Medicare, under its two-year-old Part D program, covers only the drugs administered intravenously — not the pharmacy and nursing services, supplies and equipment that make up roughly half the cost of home-infusion therapy.

Click here for the full story in The Wall Street Journal.
Hundreds of new intravenous drugs and biologic products have come on the market in recent years to treat maladies such as infections, cancer and chronic diseases. Administering these medications at home generally costs $150 to $200 a day, far below the $1,500-to-$2,500-a-day cost of a typical inpatient hospital stay. Home-infusion therapy also eliminates the risk that patients will be exposed to infections caused by hospital bacteria that can invade through IV lines and catheters.

Eyeing the potential for savings, many private insurers provide full coverage for home-infusion therapy. But Medicare, under its two-year-old Part D program, covers only the drugs administered intravenously — not the pharmacy and nursing services, supplies and equipment that make up roughly half the cost of home-infusion therapy.

Click here for the full story in The Wall Street Journal.

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