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Medicare Part D Spending Trends: Understanding Key Drivers and the Role of Competition

This brief commissioned by the Foundation examines factors that contributed to Medicare’s lower-than-expected spending on prescription drugs under the Medicare Part D drug benefit that started in 2006. Since its launch, Medicare has spent about 30 percent less on Part D benefits than the Congressional Budget Office originally projected. Some…

The Part D Experience: What are the Lessons for Broader Medicare Reform?

Launched in 2006, Medicare added a prescription drug benefit that relies entirely on private plans, while, for other benefits, beneficiaries have a choice between private health plans and traditional fee-for-service Medicare. As policymakers consider changes to Medicare that would give an even greater role to private health plans in caring…

Medicare Part D 2010 Data Spotlight: Coverage of Top Brand-Name and Specialty Drugs

This Part D Data Spotlight documents the wide variations across the private stand-alone drug plans with respect to coverage of drugs, what enrollees pay for those drugs, and restrictions and limitations placed on their use. These variations have potentially significant implications for beneficiaries’ access to medications and out-of-pocket costs. The…

Reaching for the Stars: Quality Ratings of Medicare Advantage Plans, 2011

New: Medicare Advantage Plan Star Ratings and Bonus Payments in 2012 In 2012, Medicare Advantage plans will be awarded additional payments based on their quality ratings as a result of the 2010 health reform law. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed a demonstration that would modify the…

Medicare Part D 2011 Data Spotlight: The Coverage Gap

This data spotlight examines the availability of gap coverage in the private Medicare Part D drug plans offered to beneficiaries in 2011, the first year of the phase-out of the gap, as required under the 2010 health reform law. The changes for 2011 include a 50 percent discount on brand-name…

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.…

Understanding The Effects of The Medicare Part D Coverage Gap in 2008 and 2009

This Kaiser Family Foundation study examines how the coverage gap in Medicare’s drug benefit known as the “doughnut hole” affects Medicare beneficiaries and their prescribing patterns. Based on actual claims data from 2008 and 2009, before the 2010 health reform law began to close the gap, the study finds that…

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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.