A new study suggests that lower extremity joint replacement is the only area of Medicare bundled-payment programs to see significant savings. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Bundling payments for health care was supposed to produce substantial savings, but that might not always be the case—in fact, Medicare’s voluntary bundled-payment program only produced savings for one type of treatment, joint replacements, and even then not as much as expected.

According to a new study in Health Affairs, bundling payments for hip and knee replacements did cut spending without a drop in quality by 1.6 percent from 2013–2016, but the administration had expected more. CMS had expected that after a year of participating in the program, providers would have cut spending on joint replacement by 3.9 percent.

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Marlene Satter

Marlene Y. Satter has worked in and written about the financial industry for decades.

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