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The State of Retiree Health Benefits: Historical Trends and Future Uncertainties

Tricia Neuman, Vice President and Director of the Medicare Policy Project for the Kaiser Family Foundation, testified on Monday, May 17, at a U.S. Senate Committee on Aging hearing on issues relating to retiree health coverage, “Access to Adequate Health Insurance: How Does the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Recent Rule…

Medicare Advantage 2013 Spotlight: Enrollment Market Update

This Data Spotlight provides an overview of Medicare Advantage enrollment patterns in March 2013, and examines variations by plan type, state, and firm. It also analyzes trends in premiums paid by beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, including variations by plan type, and describes the out-of-pocket limits and prescription drug coverage in the Part D “donut hole” provided by the plans in 2013.

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.

Open Enrollment: Insights from Medicare for Health Insurance Marketplaces

This Policy Insight draws on the experiences of Medicare beneficiaries during Medicare’s annual enrollment period to consider whether consumers with health insurance coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s new marketplaces will shop for a better deal during their open enrollment season.

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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.