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Program on Medicare Policy

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Medicare Payment System Reforms: What Do We Know?

Medicare is testing new ways to pay for medical services, emphasizing value rather than volume, and evidence is beginning to build about successes and challenges. On Monday, April 11, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and the Alliance for Health Reform will host a briefing to examine what we know so far…

An Overview of Medicare

This issue brief provides an overview of Medicare, the health insurance program for people ages 65 and over and younger people with permanent disabilities. The brief review the characteristics of people on Medicare, what Medicare covers, benefit gaps and supplemental coverage, beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket health care spending, program spending and financing, payment and delivery system reform, and issues for the future of Medicare.

Profile of Medicare Beneficiaries by Race and Ethnicity: A Chartpack

This chartpack draws on data and analysis from a variety of sources to profile the Medicare population through the lens of race and ethnicity, describing life expectancy, demographic characteristics, income and savings, health status and chronic conditions, supplemental coverage, selected measures of access to care, and service utilization.

Searching for Savings in Medicare Drug Price Negotiations

In response to higher drug spending growth and heightened attention to drug prices, some policymakers and presidential candidates are proposing to allow Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. This issue brief provides a short history of this proposal, describes various approaches, and assessments of their potential savings from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and considers the prospects for action in the future.

It Pays to Shop: Variation in Out-of-Pocket Costs for Medicare Part D Enrollees in 2016

This analysis focuses on out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare Part D enrollees in 2016 for specialty, brand, and generic drugs. Part D drug plans differ considerably in the drugs they list on their formularies, their use of formulary tiers, and the level and structure of cost sharing applied to those tiers. Plan decisions affect different beneficiaries in different ways, depending on the drugs they use. The financial consequences for Part D plan enrollees can be substantial. In addition to examining costs for common drugs, we also examine profiles of multiple drugs for several hypothetical Part D enrollees.

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.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 2400 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.