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Workplace Wellness Programs, Healthy Behaviors and Health Reform

Many large employers offer financial incentives to their employees to exercise regularly, improve their diets, lose weight and quit smoking. Health reform proposals would write some of these incentives into law. But some patient advocates say that, depending on how the incentives are structured, they can make coverage more expensive…

Boomers Come of Age: Covering Early Retirees and Other 50-64 Year-Olds

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contains provisions that can help workers age 50-64 if they lose their jobs and their employer-sponsored health benefits, such as incentives for employers to maintain retiree benefits. This briefing, cosponsored by the Alliance for Health Reform and AARP, answered many questions about provisions…

Medicare Part D 2008 Data Spotlight: Formularies

This Medicare Part D data spotlight examines the formularies (list of covered drugs) of Medicare stand-alone prescription drug plans in 2008, changes since 2006, and differences in how plans cover brand-name and generic drugs. This is one in a series analyzing key aspects of the 2008 Medicare Part D prescription…

Federal Core Requirements And State Options In Medicaid: Current Policies And Key Issues

Medicaid is a jointly financed partnership between the federal government and states. The federal-state financing and administrative structure of Medicaid provides a framework of federal core requirements along with broad state options for program design and administration. This issue brief presents an overview of the current Medicaid program framework, with…

Restructuring Medicare’s Benefit Design: Implications for Beneficiaries and Spending

Several deficit-reduction plans have proposed combining Medicare’s separate deductibles for hospital and physician services, standardizing cost sharing across types of benefits, and establishing a new limit on annual out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries. A new Kaiser Family Foundation study examines the potential implications of proposals to revamp Medicare’s cost-sharing requirements as…

Medicaid: A Primer – Key Information on the Nation’s Health Coverage Program for Low-Income People

This primer provides an overview of Medicaid, the nation’s largest health coverage program, which covers more than 62 million low-income individuals, including children and families, people with disabilities and seniors who are also covered by Medicare. Medicaid also is the dominant source of the country’s long-term care financing. The program will expand significantly under the Affordable Care Act in 2014.

Medicare Part D 2010 Data Spotlight: Benefit Design and Cost Sharing

The Medicare Modernization Act established a defined standard drug benefit for Part D stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs) and Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MA-PD) plans, while giving plans flexibility to offer alternative benefit designs. Only about one in 10 PDPs offer the standard benefit in 2010. Plan sponsors can offer…

The Role of Clinical and Cost Information in Medicaid Pharmacy Benefit Decisions: Experience in Seven States

This policy brief provides perspective on the potential for using comparative effectiveness research in Medicaid pharmacy programs by looking at seven states to determine how they currently evaluate relative clinical and cost information about prescription drugs when making coverage decisions for their Medicaid pharmacy benefits. The brief was prepared by…

Essential Health Benefits: Balancing Affordability and Adequacy

Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), insurance plans offered through state insurance exchanges as well as non-grandfathered plans offered in the individual and small group markets – will be required to cover a set of health benefits and services called the “essential health benefits” package. Guidance issued…

Medicaid Enrollment and Expenditures by Federal Core Requirements and State Options

To receive federal Medicaid matching funds, states that participate in Medicaid must meet federal requirements, which include covering specified “federal core” enrollee groups and mandatory health benefits. States also may choose to cover additional “state expansion” enrollees and optional benefits with federal Medicaid matching funds. The federal core eligibility standards…