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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

To Switch or Not to Switch: Are Medicare Beneficiaries Switching Drug Plans To Save Money?

This analysis finds that relatively few Medicare beneficiaries have switched Part D prescription drug plans voluntarily during the annual open enrollment period — even though those who do switch often lower their out-of-pocket costs as a result of changing plans. The vast majority (87% on average between 2006 and 2010) stayed in the same Part D plan, even though the plans can change premiums, deductibles, cost-sharing amounts, and their list of covered drugs each year. Higher rates of plan switching were observed in PDPs that increased premiums, increased deductibles, or dropped coverage of brand-name drugs in the coverage gap.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Medicare Part D: A First Look at Plan Offerings in 2014

The 2014 Part D Data Spotlight analyzes information about the Medicare Part D stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) options available to beneficiaries in 2014. The analysis shows that Medicare beneficiaries on average will have a choice of 35 stand-alone prescription drug plans in 2014, and somewhat more “benchmark” plans available to Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) beneficiaries nationwide. The weighted average premium will increase by 5 percent between 2013 and 2014 if enrollees remain in the same plans next year. The analysis also finds more plans are using preferred pharmacy networks and adopting a growing number of cost-sharing formulary tiers for different drugs.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Searching for Savings in Medicare Drug Price Negotiations

In response to higher drug spending growth and heightened attention to drug prices, some policymakers and presidential candidates are proposing to allow Medicare to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. This issue brief provides a short history of this proposal, describes various approaches, and assessments of their potential savings from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and considers the prospects for action in the future.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Allowing Medicare to Negotiate Drug Prices Is A Popular Idea But May Not Produce Substantial Savings

In response to rising drug costs, some policymakers and presidential candidates, including Republican Donald Trump and Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, have proposed allowing Medicare to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies over the price of prescription drugs, in contrast to the current approach under Medicare Part D drug where…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Health Affairs Article: Medicare’s Part D Drug Benefit At 10 Years: Firmly Established But Still Evolving

Despite initial controversy and uncertainties, Medicare Part D now provides drug coverage to thirty-nine million beneficiaries through dozens of private plans in each region. Although firmly established, the program faces challenges, including projected spending growth. Enrollees also face challenges as plans adopt new strategies to control costs.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Medicare’s Drug Benefit Is Firmly-Established After Its First Decade, With Flat Premiums in Recent Years but Higher Cost-Sharing Over Time 

With Medicare Part D nearing the end of its tenth year, the program — which now provides drug coverage to 72 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries — has experienced no growth in average premiums in recent years but some notable increases in cost-sharing, according to a new report from the…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Medicare Drug Plan Enrollees Would Face Average 13 Percent Premium Increase Unless They Switch Plans During Open Enrollment, New Analysis Finds

Second Analysis Finds Modest Shifts in Medicare Advantage Plan Options When Medicare’s 2016 open enrollment begins Oct. 15, current enrollees in stand-alone Medicare Part D plans are projected to face an average 13 percent increase in premiums if they remain in their current plan for 2016, a new analysis finds.…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

It Pays to Shop: Variation in Out-of-Pocket Costs for Medicare Part D Enrollees in 2016

This analysis focuses on out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare Part D enrollees in 2016 for specialty, brand, and generic drugs. Part D drug plans differ considerably in the drugs they list on their formularies, their use of formulary tiers, and the level and structure of cost sharing applied to those tiers. Plan decisions affect different beneficiaries in different ways, depending on the drugs they use. The financial consequences for Part D plan enrollees can be substantial. In addition to examining costs for common drugs, we also examine profiles of multiple drugs for several hypothetical Part D enrollees.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Although a Small Share of Medicare Part D Enrollees Take Specialty Drugs, A New Analysis Finds Those Who Do Can Face Thousands of Dollars in Out-of-Pocket Drug Costs Despite Plan Limits on Catastrophic Expenses

Some Medicare Part D enrollees can expect to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for a single specialty drug in 2016, even though Part D plans provide substantial protection against catastrophic costs, according to a new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The findings illustrate how high prescription drug prices, one…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Medicare Advantage 2015 Spotlight: Enrollment Market Update

This Data Spotlight reviews national and state-level enrollment trends as of March 2015 and examines variation in enrollment by plan type and firm. It analyzes the most recent data on premiums, out-of-pocket limits, Part D cost-sharing for drugs, and plans’ quality ratings for Medicare Advantage enrollees.

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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.