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Trends in Medicaid Physician Fees, 2003-2008

This study, published in a Health Affairs Web exclusive, provides the first national and state-by-state update of Medicaid physician fees since 2003. Medicaid has historically reimbursed physicians under fee-for-service at levels below what Medicare and private health insurers would pay for the same services. The study finds that Medicaid fees…

Medicare Patients’ Access to Physicians: A Synthesis of the Evidence

Congressional debates about the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) raise questions about whether doctors are willing to see Medicare patients. This issue brief examines multiple data sources to assess beneficiaries’ access to physicians, particularly vulnerable beneficiaries with greater health needs and other disadvantages. It examines the share of doctors who are participating physicians as well as those who have opted-out of the Medicare program to privately contract with Medicare patients. It includes State analyses of rates of physicians who are accepting new Medicare patients as well as patients with private health insurance and Medicaid.

The Rising Cost of Living Longer: Analysis of Medicare Spending by Age for Beneficiaries in Traditional Medicare

This analysis provides a detailed look at per person Medicare spending on the nearly 30 million beneficiaries over age 65 who are enrolled in the traditional Medicare program. Among the key findings of the report is that per person spending rises with age, peaking at age 96. But this rise is not entirely explained by Medicare spending on end of life care, which declines with age. What Medicare spends money on also changes as beneficiaries age. Hospital care is the largest component of Medicare spending throughout the age curve, up to age 100, but there is less spending on physician services and more on home health, skilled nursing and hospice care as beneficiaries age.

Paying a Visit to the Doctor: Current Financial Protections for Medicare Patients When Receiving Physician Services

This issue brief explains provisions in current law that shield beneficiaries from unexpected and confusing charges when they see physicians and practitioners—namely, the participating provider program, limitation on balance billing, and conditions on private contracting for doctors who opt out of Medicare or join “concierge” practices. It also analyzes the implications of modifying these provisions for beneficiaries, providers, and the Medicare program.