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What’s in Store for Medicare’s Part B Premiums and Deductible in 2016, and Why?

As a result of the recently-enacted Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, the Medicare Part B monthly premium will be $121.80 in 2016 according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an increase of 16 percent over the 2015 amount for 30 percent of beneficiaries —far lower than the 52 percent increase initially projected by the Medicare actuaries. This Issue Brief reviews how Medicare Part B premiums and deductibles are affected by the recent budget deal (including the premium surcharge that covers the costs) and explains the connection between the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), Medicare premiums, and the “hold harmless” provision that will keep premiums flat for 70 percent of beneficiaries in 2016.

Primary Care Physicians Accepting Medicare: A Snapshot

This Data Note presents findings on reported acceptance of Medicare patients among non-pediatric primary care physicians, based on data from the Kaiser Family Foundation/Commonwealth Fund 2015 National Survey of Primary Care Providers. In addition to comparing physicians’ acceptance of Medicare to private insurance and Medicaid, this Data Note also explores the characteristics of non-pediatric primary care physicians who accept new Medicare patients and who have greater shares of Medicare patients in their caseloads.

Medicare Open Enrollment Preview

With Medicare Advantage (Part C) and prescription drug (Part D) open enrollment beginning October 15th, this briefing took a close look at what to expect, including trends in premiums and cost sharing, plan availability and benefit design.

The Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit

This fact sheet includes the latest information and data for 2016 about the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit, including current plan information, the standard benefit parameters, low-income assistance, the latest available enrollment data, and program spending and financing.

Medicare Part D: A First Look at Plan Offerings in 2016

During the Medicare open enrollment period, beneficiaries have the opportunity to enroll in a plan that provides Part D prescription drug coverage, either a stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) to supplement traditional Medicare, or a Medicare Advantage drug plan. This issue brief provides an overview of the 2016 PDP marketplace, focusing on key changes from 2015, based on analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It presents analysis of PDP availability, premiums, benefit design, and low-income subsidy plans.

What’s In and What’s Out? Medicare Advantage Market Entries and Exits for 2016

This Issue Brief examines the availability of Medicare Advantage plans nationwide and by state in 2016, and tracks changes in plan availability since 2012. It documents the number and share of Medicare Advantage enrollees affected by plan withdrawals each year, the characteristics of plans that will be entering or exiting the market in 2016, and the potential implications of these changes for Medicare Advantage enrollees.

The Latest on Geographic Variation in Medicare Spending: A Demographic Divide Persists But Variation Has Narrowed

This report uses the most current data available to analyze Medicare per beneficiary spending, by county, in 2013; the growth in Medicare per beneficiary spending between 2007 and 2013, by county; and the extent to which geographic variation in Medicare per beneficiary spending has increased or decreased over time. The analysis finds that beneficiaries living in counties with relatively high Medicare per beneficiary spending tend to be sicker and poorer than beneficiaries living in lower-spending counties and that the gap between high and low-spending counties narrows but does not close after adjustments are made for differences in prices and beneficiaries’ health status. The analysis also shows that the amount of variation between the highest- and lowest-spending counties appears to have narrowed in recent years, raising questions as to whether these changes are due to specific shifts in payment policy. An interactive U.S. map showing county-level Medicare spending is also available.

Medicare Part D at Ten Years: The 2015 Marketplace and Key Trends, 2006-2015

Since 2006, Medicare beneficiaries have had access through Medicare Part D to prescription drug coverage offered by private plans, either stand-alone prescription drug plans (PDPs) or Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans (MA-PD plans). Now in its tenth year, Part D has evolved due to changes in the private plan marketplace and the laws and regulations that govern the program. This report presents findings from an analysis of the Medicare Part D marketplace in 2015 and changes in features of the drug benefit offered by Part D plans since 2006.