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10 FAQs: Medicare’s Role in End-of-Life Care

About three-quarters of decedents in the US each year are ages 65 and older, making Medicare the largest insurer of health care provided during the last year of life. These Frequently Asked Questions explain Medicare’s role in or coverage of end-of-life care, advance care planning, advance directives, and hospice care. They also provide information on Medicare spending on end-of-life care, changes to the physician fee schedule that policymakers are currently considering, and how related issues arose prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act.

Kaiser Health Tracking Poll: September 2015

As the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services prepares to finalize a plan to pay physicians for discussing end-of-life treatment options with Medicare patients, this month’s Kaiser Health Tracking Poll finds that about 8 in 10 of the public favors Medicare and private insurance covering such discussions and about 9 in 10 say doctors should have these discussions with their patients. However, relatively few (17 percent) say they’ve had such discussions with a doctor or other health care provider, while half of the public says they would want to have such a discussion. Overall, opinion of the health care law has remained divided with similar shares reporting favorable views (41 percent) and unfavorable views (45 percent), with opinion starkly divided by party. The Kaiser Health Policy News Index also finds that the 2016 presidential election is the most widely followed news story included in this month’s Index, placing far ahead of health policy news stories.

Public Strongly Favors End-of-Life Conversations Between Doctors and Patients, With About Eight in 10 Saying Medicare and Other Insurers Should Cover These Visits

Six in 10 Oppose ‘Cadillac Plan Tax’ on High-Cost Health Plans Set to Take Effect in 2018, But Cost Savings Argument Can Change Some Opinions Views on the Affordable Care Act Remain Divided: 45% Unfavorable, 41% Favorable As the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services prepares to finalize a plan…

Income and Assets of Medicare Beneficiaries, 2014 – 2030

This issue brief, co-authored by researchers at the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Urban Institute, describes the income, savings, and home equity of current Medicare beneficiaries, considers variations by race, ethnicity and other demographic characteristics, and examines the extent to which income and assets are projected to be higher among the next generation of beneficiaries.

Long-Term Care in the United States: A Timeline

Long-term care (LTC) in the United States has evolved over the course of the last century to better serve the needs of seniors and person with disabilities. This long-term care timeline outlines the major milestones in LTC from the nursing home era, which created an institutional bias in LTC, to the era of home and community based services (HCBS) and integration, and into the era of health reform and beyond.

Dual Eligible Demonstrations: The Beneficiary Perspective

This issue brief provides insights about initial implementation of the financial alignment demonstrations from the perspective of dual eligible beneficiaries in Massachusetts, Ohio, and Virginia, based on 12 individual interviews conducted in early 2015. Profiles of six beneficiaries are presented to illustrate representative program experiences, along with key findings from across all of the interviews.

Survey Finds Many Primary Care Physicians Have Negative Views of the Use of Quality Metrics and Penalties for Unnecessary Hospital Readmissions 

Primary Care Providers View Health IT as Improving Quality, But Tilt Negatively on ACOs Half of the nation’s primary care physicians view the increased use of quality-of-care metrics and financial penalties for unnecessary hospitalizations as potentially troubling for patient care, according to a new survey from The Commonwealth Fund and…

Primary Care Providers’ Views Of Recent Trends In Health Care Delivery And Payment

A new survey from The Commonwealth Fund and The Kaiser Family Foundation asked primary care providers—physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants—about their experiences with and reactions to recent changes in health care delivery and payment. Providers’ views are generally positive regarding the impact of health information technology on quality of care, but they are more divided on the increased use of medical homes and accountable care organizations. Overall, providers are more negative about the increased reliance on quality metrics to assess their performance and about financial penalties.