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Modifying Traditional Medicare’s Benefit Design Could Reduce Federal Spending But With Cost Tradeoffs Between Beneficiaries and The Federal Government

Revamping traditional Medicare’s benefit design and restricting “first-dollar” supplemental coverage could reduce federal spending, simplify cost sharing, protect against high medical costs, decrease out-of-pocket spending for many beneficiaries, and provide more help to those with low incomes — but would be unlikely to achieve all of these goals simultaneously.

Modifying Medicare’s Benefit Design: What’s the Impact on Beneficiaries and Spending?

This report examines an approach to reforming Medicare that has been a focus of Congressional hearings and featured in several broader debt reduction and entitlement reform proposals, and was included in the June 2016 House Republican health plan. The analysis models four different options for modifying Medicare’s benefit design, all of which include a single deductible, modified cost-sharing requirements, a new cost-sharing limit, and a prohibition on first-dollar Medigap coverage. The analysis models the expected effects on out-of-pocket spending by beneficiaries in traditional Medicare, and assesses how each option is expected to affect spending by the federal government, state Medicaid programs, employers, and other payers, assuming full implementation in 2018.

Trends in State Medicaid Programs: Looking Back and Looking Ahead

For 15 years, KCMU and HMA have conducted annual surveys of Medicaid programs across the country. The NAMD has formally collaborated on this project since 2014. This brief provides a look back at the enrollment and spending trends as well as the multitude of policy actions taken by states across key areas: eligibility and application processes; provider rates and taxes; benefits, pharmacy and long-term care since as well as highlighting more recent data on managed care and delivery system reforms collected as part of this annual survey. Looking ahead, the survey will continue to capture the evolution of the Medicaid program with a focus program changes during economic cycles as well as innovations in payment and delivery system reform.

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.

Medicaid Reforms to Expand Coverage, Control Costs and Improve Care: Results from a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016

This report provides an in depth examination of the changes taking place in state Medicaid programs across the country. The findings in this report are drawn from the 15th annual budget survey of Medicaid officials in all 50 states and the District of Columbia conducted by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured and Health Management Associates (HMA), with the support of the National Association of Medicaid Directors. This report highlights policy changes implemented in state Medicaid programs in FY 2015 and those planned for implementation in FY 2016 based on information provided by the nation’s state Medicaid Directors. Key areas covered include changes in eligibility and enrollment, delivery and payment system reforms, provider payment rates, and covered benefits (including prescription drug policies).

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.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 2400 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 | Phone 650-854-9400
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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.