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The Implications of Medicare Prescription Drug Proposals for Employers and Retirees

This report examines the potential savings for employers who currently represent the largest source of drug coverage for seniors. The study finds substantial savings for large employers under comprehensive Medicare prescription drug proposals ranging from $5-8.5 billion in 2003 to $10-$15 billion in 2009. It also finds that the majority…

How Do Patterns of Prescription Drug Coverage and Use Differ for White, African American, and Latino Medicare Beneficiaries Under 65 and 65+

This chartpack provides a snapshot of racial/ethnic differences in Medicare beneficiaries? prescription drug coverage, use, and spending. It examines patterns separately for beneficiaries under age 65 and 65+. The summary discusses the relevance of the key findings to the current policy debates about prescription drug coverage. Chartpack (.pdf)

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.

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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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.