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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…

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: How the Affordable Care Act Affects Baby Boomers and Medicare Beneficiaries

As part of the “Covering Health Reform” series, this webinar focused on the major changes facing older people. The Foundation’s Associate Director of the Program on Medicare Policy, Juliette Cubanski and Senior Fellow Karen Pollitz discussed how the Affordable Care Act impacts Medicare benefits and beneficiaries, as well as the ACA’s role for baby boomers who are not yet 65 and eligible for Medicare.

Medicare Advantage 2014 Spotlight: Plan Availability and Premiums

This data spotlight report examines trends in the Medicare Advantage marketplace, including the choices available to Medicare beneficiaries in 2014, premium levels and other plan features. Medicare beneficiaries, on average, will have 18 private Medicare Advantage plans available to them in 2014, reflecting both new plans entering the market and old plans exiting it. If Medicare Advantage enrollees remain in their current plans, average monthly premiums will rise by almost $5 per month, or 14 percent, to $39 per month. The analysis also examines some benefits provided by Medicare Advantage plans including drug coverage and caps on out-of-pocket spending, and finds that average out-of-pocket limits across all plans will climb 11 percent to $4,797 in 2014. Additionally, this analysis examines changes in the types of plans available (HMOs, PPOs, etc.), including special needs plans in 2014.

The Affordable Care Act: Three Years Post-Enactment

On March 23, 2010, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law. Although the date for full implementation of most provisions of the law is January 1, 2014, the ACA has already led to progress toward expanded coverage of the uninsured; improved access and better care delivery models; broader…

Medicare Spending Limits: Issues and Implications

Several major deficit-reduction plans include provisions that would impose an explicit limit on the growth in Medicare spending. In general, such limits would trigger cuts if Medicare spending grows more rapidly than a target, such as the growth in the economy. This brief prepared for the Kaiser Family Foundation describes…