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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 2013 Spotlight: Enrollment Market Update

This Data Spotlight provides an overview of Medicare Advantage enrollment patterns in March 2013, and examines variations by plan type, state, and firm. It also analyzes trends in premiums paid by beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, including variations by plan type, and describes the out-of-pocket limits and prescription drug coverage in the Part D “donut hole” provided by the plans in 2013.

Adding an Out-of-Pocket Spending Maximum to Medicare: Implementation Issues and Challenges

In an effort to simplify Medicare’s cost-sharing requirements, provide beneficiaries with catastrophic protection, and achieve program savings, some have proposed to restructure Medicare’s benefit design. Several recent proposals would create a unified deductible for Medicare Parts A and B, simplify cost-sharing requirements above the deductible, and add an annual limit on beneficiary out-of-pocket spending—a benefit feature typical of larger employer plans, but lacking in traditional Medicare. This issue brief describes the options for adding an out-of-pocket spending limit to Medicare and examines the operational issues that could arise in implementing both a uniform and an income-based out-of-pocket spending limit. Because the implementation of an income-related out-of-pocket maximum would pose somewhat greater complexity for Medicare, the operational issues associated with this approach are discussed in greater detail.

Testimony: Income Security and the Elderly: Securing Gains Made in the War on Poverty

Senior Vice President Patricia Neuman testified before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging as part of its hearing entitled Income Security and the Elderly: Securing Gains Made in the War on Poverty. As part of her testimony, she presented segments from a Foundation-produced video that highlights what it means to be old and poor in our country.

Old and Poor: America’s Forgotten

While the Census Bureau’s official poverty measure shows 9 percent of seniors nationally live in poverty, the share climbs to about one in seven seniors (15 percent) under the Bureau’s alternative Supplemental Poverty Measure, which takes into account out-of-pocket health expenses and geographic differences in the cost of living. Produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Old and Poor: America’s Forgotten provides a portrait of seniors who are living in poverty, in both urban and rural areas across the United States.

Improving the Financial Accountability of Nursing Facilities

This report examines nursing facility expenditures to assess relative spending increases in areas such as nursing services, administrative costs, and profits. Using California as a case study, it explores reimbursement by cost category and a standard medical loss ratio (MLR) as potential policy options to improve nursing facility financial accountability and care quality.