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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.

Medicare Advantage: Take Another Look

This Policy Insight explores possible explanations for the continued rise in Medicare Advantage enrollment between 2010 and 2013 in spite of a projected decrease following payment changes in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

New Data Spotlight Tracks Rising Enrollment in Medicare Advantage Plan

A new brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation documents the continuing climb in Medicare Advantage plan enrollment, even at a time when payments to such plans are being reduced under the Affordable Care Act. Despite spending reductions enacted in the ACA to reduce historical overpayments to Medicare Advantage plans, from…

Report Examines Current Role and Future Outlook of Retiree Health Coverage

A new Kaiser Family Foundation report examines the current role and future outlook of employer-sponsored retiree health benefits for pre-65 and Medicare-eligible retirees. Retiree Health Benefits At the Crossroads reviews recent trends and developments in employer-sponsored retiree health coverage and examines the impact of recent legislation, such as the Medicare…

Medicare Advantage: Take Another Look 

In the latest post in the Policy Insights series, Tricia Neuman and Gretchen Jacobson examine the surprising growth in Medicare Advantage enrollment following payment reductions included in the Affordable Care Act. Previous columns in the Policy Insights series are also available on kff.org.

Report, Briefing Examine How Seniors Choose Among Their Medicare Plan Options

Report & Briefing Examine How Seniors Choose Among Their Medicare Plan Options Seniors appreciate having a wide range of Medicare private plan choices available to them but often feel unqualified to choose among them, a new Kaiser Family Foundation report concludes. Based on discussions with seniors in four cities around…

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.

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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.