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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.

Reading the Stars: Nursing Home Quality Star Ratings, Nationally and by State

This issue brief presents national and state-level analysis of nursing homes based on the Five-Star Quality Rating System, recently updated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to help consumers compare nursing homes when selecting one for themselves or their family members. The issue brief finds that more than one-third (36%) of the nation’s 15,500 nursing homes certified by Medicare or Medicaid received relatively low ratings of 1 or 2 stars (out of a possible 5 stars). In 11 states, at least 40 percent of nursing homes in the state have 1- or 2-star ratings. In 23 states, however, at least half of the nursing homes have 4- or 5- star ratings. This issue brief discusses relevant policy considerations regarding nursing home quality—a serious issue in light of the vulnerability of the nursing home population and recent reports of problems arising from inadequate staffing, fire safety hazards, and substandard care.

Few Consumers Use Information on Health Provider Quality or Price

In his latest column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman discusses new poll findings showing very small numbers of consumers are using provider quality and price information. All previous columns by Drew Altman are available online. 

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: April 2015

This month’s Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds public opinion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues to be almost evenly split The poll also asks about health care priorities for the President and Congress, and the concern that comes out on top for Democrats, Republicans and independents alike is making sure that high-cost drugs for chronic conditions are affordable to those who need them. Other than high-cost prescription drugs, Democrats, Republicans and independents have different ideas of their top priorities in health care. The poll also assesses Americans’ use of comparative price and quality information about doctors, hospitals and health plans.