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Adding an Out-of-Pocket Spending Maximum to Medicare: Implementation Issues and Challenges

In an effort to simplify Medicare’s cost-sharing requirements, provide beneficiaries with catastrophic protection, and achieve program savings, some have proposed to restructure Medicare’s benefit design. Several recent proposals would create a unified deductible for Medicare Parts A and B, simplify cost-sharing requirements above the deductible, and add an annual limit on beneficiary out-of-pocket spending—a benefit feature typical of larger employer plans, but lacking in traditional Medicare. This issue brief describes the options for adding an out-of-pocket spending limit to Medicare and examines the operational issues that could arise in implementing both a uniform and an income-based out-of-pocket spending limit. Because the implementation of an income-related out-of-pocket maximum would pose somewhat greater complexity for Medicare, the operational issues associated with this approach are discussed in greater detail.

Visualizing Health Policy: The Role of Medicaid and Medicare in Women’s Health Care

This month’s Visualizing Health Policy infographic provides information about the role of Medicaid and Medicare in women’s health care: the proportion of US women who are covered by Medicaid and Medicare; how women comprise the majority of those covered by the Medicaid and Medicare programs and the majority of those receiving long-term services and supports (such as home health care); how women on Medicaid are poorer and sicker than women with private coverage; how Medicaid is a primary payer for women’s reproductive health services; and how women on Medicare spend more than their male counterparts on medical care and also have higher rates of health problems and social challenges.

Medicare Quiz

Take this quiz to find out how much you know about Medicare, the people it serves, the benefits it covers, and its financial status.

The Ups and Downs of Medicare Part B Premiums: Frequently Asked Questions

This brief examines how Medicare Part B premiums for many beneficiaries are affected by the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for Social Security benefits. Based on the most recent projections from the Medicare and Social Security Trustees, the brief examines the interactions between the two programs that resulted in some Medicare…

To Switch or Not to Switch: Are Medicare Beneficiaries Switching Drug Plans To Save Money?

This analysis finds that relatively few Medicare beneficiaries have switched Part D prescription drug plans voluntarily during the annual open enrollment period — even though those who do switch often lower their out-of-pocket costs as a result of changing plans. The vast majority (87% on average between 2006 and 2010) stayed in the same Part D plan, even though the plans can change premiums, deductibles, cost-sharing amounts, and their list of covered drugs each year. Higher rates of plan switching were observed in PDPs that increased premiums, increased deductibles, or dropped coverage of brand-name drugs in the coverage gap.

Obamacare and You: If You Have Medicare…

This short explainer highlights some of the key information for people with Medicare about how Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, may affect them.

Obamacare and You

Obamacare and You is a series of one-page papers explaining how the Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” will affect different groups of people. Click on the links below to learn more: If You Are Uninsured  Haga clic para leer en español  If You Are Low-Income and May Qualify for…

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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.