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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…

Medicare: A Timeline of Key Developments

This timeline provides information about policy developments over the course of the last 40 years of the Medicare program and will be updated with new developments as they occur.

Medicare’s Role for Older Women

This fact sheet, Medicare’s Role for Older Women, discusses the characteristics of female Medicare beneficiaries, their health care needs, the structure of Medicare including cost-sharing requirements, and anticipated changes due to health reform.

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 Advantage 2014 Spotlight: Enrollment Market Update

This Data Spotlight provides an overview of Medicare Advantage enrollment patterns in March 2014, and examines variations by plan type, state, and firm. It also analyzes trends in premiums paid by beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans and describes the changes in limits on out-of-pocket expenses and prescription drug coverage in the Part D “donut hole” provided by the plans in 2014.

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).