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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).

Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker

The Peterson Center on Healthcare and the Kaiser Family Foundation have partnered to monitor how well the U.S. healthcare system is performing in terms of quality and cost. The Peterson-Kaiser Health System Tracker is an online hub providing comprehensive data on how the system is performing on critical quality and cost…

Medicare Advantage 2015 Data Spotlight: Overview of Plan Changes

This issue brief analyzes the number and variety of Medicare Advantage plan choices available to beneficiaries in 2015. It describes trends in number of Medicare Advantage plans, plan premiums, and plan quality ratings, including changes in prescription drug coverage and limits on out-of-pocket expenses. This spotlight is part of a series of spotlights tracking key changes in the Medicare Advantage program.

The Role of Medicare and the Indian Health Service for American Indians and Alaska Natives: Health, Access and Coverage

This report examines the role of both Medicare and the Indian Health Service (IHS) in providing access to health care for about 650,000 American Indians and Alaska Natives who are age 65 and older or who have permanent disabilities. While Medicare provides important health care coverage for most in this group, its relatively high cost-sharing and gaps in benefits can be problematic for American Indians and Alaska Native Medicare beneficiaries who do not have additional supplemental coverage or who cannot access IHS providers.

How Much of the Medicare Spending Slowdown Can be Explained? Insights and Analysis from 2014

This paper identifies and quantifies, to the extent possible, the factors that explain the gap between actual Medicare spending in 2014 and CBO’s 2009 projections of what Medicare spending would be this year. The study synthesizes information from a variety of sources and presents new analysis to assess the extent to which lower-than-projected Medicare spending in 2014 can be explained by deliberate policy and program changes, unexpected trends, and other factors.

Visualizing Health Policy: Medicare Spending: A Look at Present, Short-Term and Long-Term Trends

This Visualizing Health Policy infographic with the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) provides an overview of Medicare spending trends in the present, short term and long term. In the long term, Medicare spending as a share of the economy is projected to grow, and Medicare is projected to lack sufficient funds to pay all hospital bills beginning in 2030.

New Report on the “Rising Cost of Living Longer” Details Medicare Spending by Age

A new report, The Rising Cost of Living Longer: Analysis of Medicare Spending by Age for Beneficiaries in Traditional Medicare, from the Kaiser Family Foundation takes a detailed look at per person Medicare spending by age and by service among the nearly 30 million people covered by traditional Medicare in 2011

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.