While some states have increased their Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care and obstetric services, in general, rate increases did not keep up with the rate of inflation between 2003 and 2008, according to a report from the Washington-based Urban Institute and published on the Health Affairs Web site.
On average, Medicaid fees increased 15.1% during that period or about 2.6% a year. In comparison, the Consumer Price Index grew 20.3%, an annual average of 3.4%. Researchers collected information supplied by individual states on reimbursement rates for primary care, obstetrics, hospital visits, radiology, psychotherapy, laboratory tests and surgeries. Statewide averages were used in Alabama, Utah and Wisconsin where rural providers are reimbursed at a higher rate.
During the study period, reimbursement for primary care grew 20%, while obstetrics grew 8.8%, and all other services increased 8.7%, according to the report. New Jersey, whose reimbursement rate is only 58% of the national average, has the lowest rates, while Alaska had the highest, at 205% of the national average. Minnesota and New York were the only states that did not increase their rates during the study period, while increases of less than 5% were reported in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, West Virginia and Wisconsin.