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The Future of Medicare Advantage: Are We on the Right Path?

This June 10 briefing looked at Medicare Advantage and changes affecting it, including revised calculations of payments from CMS, and the Affordable Care Act’s reduced payments to Medicare Advantage plans. Speakers discussed how Medicare Advantage plans are expected to respond to payment changes; if quality bonus payments created significant changes in patient care or plan choices; and what implications could these decisions have on beneficiaries with regard to premiums, benefits and more.

2013 Employer Health Benefits Survey

This annual Employer Health Benefits Survey (EHBS) provides a detailed look at trends in employer-sponsored health coverage, including premiums, employee contributions, cost-sharing provisions, and other relevant information. The 2013 survey finds average family health premiums rose 4 percent in 2013, relatively modest growth by historical standards.

Adding an Out-of-Pocket Spending Maximum to Medicare: Implementation Issues and Challenges

In an effort to simplify Medicare’s cost-sharing requirements, provide beneficiaries with catastrophic protection, and achieve program savings, some have proposed to restructure Medicare’s benefit design. Several recent proposals would create a unified deductible for Medicare Parts A and B, simplify cost-sharing requirements above the deductible, and add an annual limit on beneficiary out-of-pocket spending—a benefit feature typical of larger employer plans, but lacking in traditional Medicare. This issue brief describes the options for adding an out-of-pocket spending limit to Medicare and examines the operational issues that could arise in implementing both a uniform and an income-based out-of-pocket spending limit. Because the implementation of an income-related out-of-pocket maximum would pose somewhat greater complexity for Medicare, the operational issues associated with this approach are discussed in greater detail.

Medical Debt Among People With Health Insurance

This report examines the causes and contributors to medical debt, medical bankruptcy, and other difficulties with medical bills among people with insurance. Through in-depth interviews of nearly two-dozen people and quantitative analysis of national survey data, the authors of this report find that in-network and out-of-net-work cost sharing primarily contribute to medical debt among the insured.

Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans: The Marketplace in 2013 and Key Trends, 2006-2013

This report presents findings from an analysis of the Medicare Part D marketplace in 2013 and changes in drug coverage and costs since 2006. It presents key findings related to Medicare drug plan availability, enrollment, premiums, low-income subsidies, the coverage gap, benefit design, cost sharing, formularies, and utilization management, based on data from CMS for all plans participating in Part D. The analysis was conducted jointly by researchers at Georgetown University, the Kaiser Family Foundation and the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

Accountable Care Organizations: A New Paradigm for Health Care Delivery?

The health reform law of 2010 authorizes Medicare, beginning next year, to contract with accountable care organizations (ACOs) in a Medicare Shared Savings Program. ACOs provide financial incentives to improve the coordination and quality of care for Medicare beneficiaries, while reducing costs. But providers have raised red flags, saying the…