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Medicare Part D in Its Ninth Year: The 2014 Marketplace and Key Trends, 2006-2014

This report presents findings from an analysis of the Medicare Part D marketplace in 2014 and changes in features of the drug benefit offered by Part D plans since 2006. It examines the latest information and trends related to Part D enrollment and plan availability, premiums, benefit design and cost sharing, pharmacy networks, the Low-Income Subsidy Program, and plan performance ratings.

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.

Health Care Costs: A Primer

This primer on health care spending in the United States reviews the growth in health care spending since 1970 and the impact of health care costs on families and employers.

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.

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…

Medicare Part D Data Spotlight: A First Look at Part D Plan Offerings in 2012

This data spotlight examines the stand-alone Part D drug plan options available to Medicare beneficiaries in 2012. Medicare beneficiaries will, on average, be able to choose from 31 stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug plans to choose from, a new Kaiser analysis finds. Average premiums would increase by 4 percent…

Oral Health and Medicare Beneficiaries: Coverage, Out-of-Pocket Spending, and Unmet Need

This brief describes the oral health of Medicare beneficiaries, examines sources of dental coverage for the Medicare population, and examines the utilization of dental services, out-of-pocket spending on dental care, and access problems. This analysis uses data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the Medicare Current Beneficiary…

Average Annual Premiums for Family Health Benefits Top $15,000 in 2011, Up 9 Percent, Substantially More than the Growth in Worker’s Wages, Benchmark Employer Survey Finds

NEWS RELEASE September 27, 2011 Average Annual Premiums for Family Health Benefits Top $15,000 in 2011, Up 9 Percent, Substantially More than the Growth in Worker’s Wages, Benchmark Employer Survey Finds About 2.3 Million Young Adults Added to Parents’ Plan As a Result of Health Reform At Small Firms, One…