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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Medicare: The Essentials

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Do We Know If Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans Are Special?

This report describes the history of special needs plans, how they fit into the larger Medicare Advantage marketplace, and what information could help assess whether these plans are performing differently from other Medicare Advantage plans. Special needs plans serve individuals such as those who are institutionalized, people covered under both…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Estimates of Medicare Beneficiaries’ Out-of-Pocket Drug Spending in 2006

This report projects the impact of the new Medicare drug benefit on out-of-pocket spending for people who enroll in 2006. This analysis from November 2004 estimates that 6.9 million beneficiaries are projected to be affected by the coverage gap (the so-called “doughnut hole”) in the standard Part D drug benefit.…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Tracking Medicare Health and Prescription Drug Plans Report—May 2010

This brief presents current monthly data on Medicare Advantage plan participation, enrollment and penetration. It also summarizes recent activities by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), participating health plans, and the research community pertaining to the Medicare Advantage program and prescription drug plans that began serving the Medicare…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Medicare Advantage 2014 Spotlight: Plan Availability and Premiums

This data spotlight report examines trends in the Medicare Advantage marketplace, including the choices available to Medicare beneficiaries in 2014, premium levels and other plan features. Medicare beneficiaries, on average, will have 18 private Medicare Advantage plans available to them in 2014, reflecting both new plans entering the market and old plans exiting it. If Medicare Advantage enrollees remain in their current plans, average monthly premiums will rise by almost $5 per month, or 14 percent, to $39 per month. The analysis also examines some benefits provided by Medicare Advantage plans including drug coverage and caps on out-of-pocket spending, and finds that average out-of-pocket limits across all plans will climb 11 percent to $4,797 in 2014. Additionally, this analysis examines changes in the types of plans available (HMOs, PPOs, etc.), including special needs plans in 2014.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Medicare Advantage: The Role of Private Health Plans in Medicare Tutorial

This tutorial was produced for kaiserEDU.org, a Kaiser Family Foundation website that ceased production in September 2013. The kaiserEDU.org tutorials are no longer being updated but have been made available on kff.org due to demand by professors who are using the tutorials in class assignments. You may search for other tutorials to…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Obamacare and You: If You Have Medicare…

This short explainer highlights some of the key information for people with Medicare about how Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, may affect them.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Medicare Advantage 2014 Spotlight: Enrollment Market Update

This Data Spotlight provides an overview of Medicare Advantage enrollment patterns in March 2014, and examines variations by plan type, state, and firm. It also analyzes trends in premiums paid by beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans and describes the changes in limits on out-of-pocket expenses and prescription drug coverage in the Part D “donut hole” provided by the plans in 2014.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

How are Seniors Choosing and Changing Health Insurance Plans?

This report summarizes first-hand accounts of seniors’ Medicare private plan decision making strategies, based on focus groups conducted in four cities. Seniors found the initial plan selection process overwhelming due to the volume of information they received and their inability to organize it. Few used the government’s online comparison tool, and those that did cite several shortcomings. Many relied on advice from sources they trust, including insurance agents, plan representatives, friends, family members, doctor’s offices and pharmacists. After they enroll in a plan, many seniors did not revisit their initial decision or review plan options without the strong provocation of a substantial increase in cost, change in coverage, or shift in personal health care needs. Moreover, they feared that a change in plans may disrupt their care, or lead to an unforeseen increase in out-of-pocket costs, and require them to learn new rules and requirements. They are doubtful they would end up in a plan that is appreciatively different or better for them. Overall, seniors preferred to have numerous choices in plans but would like personalized help and advice from experts to ease the process.

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Figure 1: Medicare Advantage Enrollment in 2014 Exceeds Projections by 6 Million Beneficiaries

Medicare Advantage: Take Another Look

This Policy Insight explores possible explanations for the continued rise in Medicare Advantage enrollment between 2010 and 2013 in spite of a projected decrease following payment changes in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

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