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Program on Medicare Policy

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10 Essential Facts About Medicare’s Financial Outlook

Medicare, the nation’s federal health insurance program for 57 million people age 65 and over and younger people with disabilities, often plays a major role in federal health policy and budget discussions. Medicare is likely to be back on the federal policy agenda as Congress debates repealing and replacing the ACA, and also if policymakers turn their attention to reducing entitlement spending as part of efforts to reduce the growing federal budget deficit and debt. This issue brief presents 10 facts and figures about Medicare’s financial status today and the outlook for the future.

Searching for Savings in Medicare Drug Price Negotiations

In response to higher drug spending growth and heightened attention to drug prices, some policymakers have proposed allowing 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.

Paying a Visit to the Doctor: Current Financial Protections for Medicare Patients When Receiving Physician Services

This issue brief explains provisions in current law that shield beneficiaries from unexpected and confusing charges when they see physicians and practitioners—namely, the participating provider program, limitation on balance billing, and conditions on private contracting for doctors who opt out of Medicare or join “concierge” practices. It also analyzes the implications of modifying these provisions for beneficiaries, providers, and the Medicare program.

Medicare Part D: A First Look at Prescription Drug Plans in 2017

This issue brief provides an overview of the 2017 Medicare Part D stand-alone prescription drug plan marketplace, based on analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The brief focuses on data for 2017 and changes over time in plan availability, premiums, benefit design, cost sharing, and low-income subsidy plan availability.

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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.