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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

The Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit

This fact sheet includes the latest information and data for 2016 about the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit, including current plan information, the standard benefit parameters, low-income assistance, the latest available enrollment data, and program spending and financing.

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Figure 1: Average Number of PDPs Offered to Medicare Beneficiaries, 2006-2016

Medicare Part D: A First Look at Plan Offerings in 2016

During the Medicare open enrollment period, beneficiaries have the opportunity to enroll in a plan that provides Part D prescription drug coverage, either a stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) to supplement traditional Medicare, or a Medicare Advantage drug plan. This issue brief provides an overview of the 2016 PDP marketplace, focusing on key changes from 2015, based on analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It presents analysis of PDP availability, premiums, benefit design, and low-income subsidy plans.

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Figure 1: Total Number of Medicare Advantage Plans Nationwide, Including Plan Exits and Entrants, 2016

What’s In and What’s Out? Medicare Advantage Market Entries and Exits for 2016

This Issue Brief examines the availability of Medicare Advantage plans nationwide and by state in 2016, and tracks changes in plan availability since 2012. It documents the number and share of Medicare Advantage enrollees affected by plan withdrawals each year, the characteristics of plans that will be entering or exiting the market in 2016, and the potential implications of these changes for Medicare Advantage enrollees.

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Geographic Variation in U.S. Medicare Per Capita Spending and Spending Growth Rates by County, 2007-2013

This interactive map displays three measures of county-level Medicare per capita spending: Unadjusted Medicare spending per beneficiary in 2013; Medicare spending per beneficiary adjusted for prices and health status in 2013; and Medicare per beneficiary spending growth rates for 2007-2013.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

The Latest on Geographic Variation in Medicare Spending: A Demographic Divide Persists But Variation Has Narrowed

This report uses the most current data available to analyze Medicare per beneficiary spending, by county, in 2013; the growth in Medicare per beneficiary spending between 2007 and 2013, by county; and the extent to which geographic variation in Medicare per beneficiary spending has increased or decreased over time. The analysis finds that beneficiaries living in counties with relatively high Medicare per beneficiary spending tend to be sicker and poorer than beneficiaries living in lower-spending counties and that the gap between high and low-spending counties narrows but does not close after adjustments are made for differences in prices and beneficiaries’ health status. The analysis also shows that the amount of variation between the highest- and lowest-spending counties appears to have narrowed in recent years, raising questions as to whether these changes are due to specific shifts in payment policy. An interactive U.S. map showing county-level Medicare spending is also available.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Medicare’s Drug Benefit Is Firmly-Established After Its First Decade, With Flat Premiums in Recent Years but Higher Cost-Sharing Over Time 

With Medicare Part D nearing the end of its tenth year, the program — which now provides drug coverage to 72 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries — has experienced no growth in average premiums in recent years but some notable increases in cost-sharing, according to a new report from the…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Health Affairs Article: Medicare’s Part D Drug Benefit At 10 Years: Firmly Established But Still Evolving

Despite initial controversy and uncertainties, Medicare Part D now provides drug coverage to thirty-nine million beneficiaries through dozens of private plans in each region. Although firmly established, the program faces challenges, including projected spending growth. Enrollees also face challenges as plans adopt new strategies to control costs.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Medicare Part D at Ten Years: The 2015 Marketplace and Key Trends, 2006-2015

Since 2006, Medicare beneficiaries have had access through Medicare Part D to prescription drug coverage offered by private plans, either stand-alone prescription drug plans (PDPs) or Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans (MA-PD plans). Now in its tenth year, Part D has evolved due to changes in the private plan marketplace and the laws and regulations that govern the program. This report presents findings from an analysis of the Medicare Part D marketplace in 2015 and changes in features of the drug benefit offered by Part D plans since 2006.

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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.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

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…

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