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Although a Small Share of Medicare Part D Enrollees Take Specialty Drugs, A New Analysis Finds Those Who Do Can Face Thousands of Dollars in Out-of-Pocket Drug Costs Despite Plan Limits on Catastrophic Expenses

Some Medicare Part D enrollees can expect to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for a single specialty drug in 2016, even though Part D plans provide substantial protection against catastrophic costs, according to a new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The findings illustrate how high prescription drug prices, one…

It Pays to Shop: Variation in Out-of-Pocket Costs for Medicare Part D Enrollees in 2016

This analysis focuses on out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare Part D enrollees in 2016 for specialty, brand, and generic drugs. Part D drug plans differ considerably in the drugs they list on their formularies, their use of formulary tiers, and the level and structure of cost sharing applied to those tiers. Plan decisions affect different beneficiaries in different ways, depending on the drugs they use. The financial consequences for Part D plan enrollees can be substantial. In addition to examining costs for common drugs, we also examine profiles of multiple drugs for several hypothetical Part D enrollees.

What’s in Store for Medicare’s Part B Premiums and Deductible in 2016, and Why?

As a result of the recently-enacted Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, the Medicare Part B monthly premium will be $121.80 in 2016 according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an increase of 16 percent over the 2015 amount for 30 percent of beneficiaries —far lower than the 52 percent increase initially projected by the Medicare actuaries. This Issue Brief reviews how Medicare Part B premiums and deductibles are affected by the recent budget deal (including the premium surcharge that covers the costs) and explains the connection between the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), Medicare premiums, and the “hold harmless” provision that will keep premiums flat for 70 percent of beneficiaries in 2016.

10 FAQs: Medicare’s Role in End-of-Life Care

About three-quarters of decedents in the US each year are ages 65 and older, making Medicare the largest insurer of health care provided during the last year of life. These Frequently Asked Questions explain Medicare’s role in or coverage of end-of-life care, advance care planning, advance directives, and hospice care. They also provide information on Medicare spending on end-of-life care, changes to the physician fee schedule, and how related issues arose prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Medicaid’s Role for People with Dementia

This issue brief describes Medicaid’s role for people with dementia, including how they qualify, what services Medicaid provides, and what their utilization and spending is, and builds on our work examining Medicaid’s role for vulnerable populations and Medicaid’s role in the provision of long-term services and supports.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 2400 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 | Phone 650-854-9400
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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.