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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).

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…

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.

Medicare Part D: A First Look at Plan Offerings in 2014

The 2014 Part D Data Spotlight analyzes information about the Medicare Part D stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) options available to beneficiaries in 2014. The analysis shows that Medicare beneficiaries on average will have a choice of 35 stand-alone prescription drug plans in 2014, and somewhat more “benchmark” plans available to Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) beneficiaries nationwide. The weighted average premium will increase by 5 percent between 2013 and 2014 if enrollees remain in the same plans next year. The analysis also finds more plans are using preferred pharmacy networks and adopting a growing number of cost-sharing formulary tiers for different drugs.

Obamacare y Usted: Si tiene Medicare

Si usted tiene Medicare, su cobertura de salud no tiene cambios como consecuencia del Obamacare. Usted puede seguir confiando en el Medicare para ayudar a pagar su hospital, doctores y otros gastos médicos. Usted todavía tiene la opción de elegir entre el Medicare tradicional o el Medicare Advantage Plan (como…

Webinar for Journalists: A Year-End Update on the ACA Rollout & Looking Ahead to 2014

Two and an half months into the open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act, where does the rollout of the law stand with marketplace coverage set to begin on January 1, 2014? Featuring two Kaiser Family Foundation experts–Larry Levitt, Co-Director of the Foundation’s Program for the Study of Health Reform and Private Insurance & Senior Vice President, and Jennifer Tolbert, State Health Policy Director–the webinar touched on some of the major questions as people start using ACA coverage and the end of the open enrollment period on March 31. Most of the hour was devoted to a question and answer session with the participating audience.

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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.