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Medicare Drug Benefit

Medicare will spend $598.4 billion on health care services for seniors and the disabled in 2013 and about $635 billion in 2014.  Medicare expenditures will top $1 trillion in 2021, according to CMS actuarial projections. Medicare spending patterns and payment policies are highly complex and change constantly. The Affordable Care...
Special Needs Plans (SNP) are part of the Medicare Advantage program and were created by the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA). There are three types of SNPs, each intended to provide coordinated care for Medicare beneficiaries that meet specific criteria. Institutional SNPs (I-SNP) serve beneficiaries who, for 90 days...
Medicare Part D, the Medicare drug benefit, served roughly 31 million seniors last year. Medicare Part D is more similar to Medicare Advantage than to traditional Medicare in that enrollees can choose among several private health plans for drug coverage. The lists of which drugs Part D plans cover -...
The 2012 Supreme Court got a lot of attention for its decision to uphold most of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health reform law in NFIB v. Sebelius. But this year’s court docket will be no dud. There will be a number of interesting and important cases for pharma...
When Congress enacted the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA), it set a spending target of about $400 billion over 10 years for the Medicare Part D drug benefit, after accounting for revenues from premiums and other sources. Seven years into the program’s life, Medicare Part D spending is...
Prescription drugs often play an important role in keeping people healthy, especially for people with chronic conditions. Medicare beneficiaries with diabetes or asthma, for example, might take regular medicines to prevent emergencies that would put them in the hospital. Hospital stays, doctor’s appointments, and other medical services covered under...
Health care quality and patient safety have become increasingly important in recent years, particularly as part of efforts to prevent wasteful spending, hospital readmissions, and medical errors. Accountable Care Organizations (ACO), health information technology (HIT), electronic health records (EHR), and new health plan reporting requirements are among the many...
Medicare program payment methods are highly complex and change constantly.  The Affordable Care Act (ACA) makes further, very significant changes to how Medicare pays hospitals, physicians, post-acute providers, and Medicare Advantage health plans.  In a series of excellent briefs, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) explains the basics of Medicare reimbusement, including...
Employers have made major changes to their health benefits in the past decade. Premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance increased more than 60 percent from 2001 to 2009, and the employee’s share of premiums went up more than 90 percent. There has also been a decline in the numbers of businesses...
Medicare Part D prescription drug plan formularies in 2012 covered 96 percent of the drugs most used by people eligible for both full Medicare benefits and Medicaid - full benefit dual eligibles - according to the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG). That figure is...

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