Kip Piper's Health Care Blog
Medicare, Medicaid, Health Reform

Medicare observers expect heavy competition for drug plan contracts with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). It now appears CMS will receive several hundred applications, including applications from major insurers offering drug benefit packages in every state. Since adoption of the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA), most observers -...
The Medicare prescription drug benefit (aka, Medicare Part D) is biggest thing to hit American health care in decades. The massive, costly, and extraordinarily complex new program will likely realign the entire pharmaceutical supply chain and create a raft of new winners and losers in the marketplace. Looking into...
It's still early in the nationwide push to get millions of low-income Medicare beneficiaries to sign up for the subsidy that could cover the bulk of their prescription drug expenses. But, as many of us expected, applications are coming in at a trickle. The low-income subsidy is one of the...
Medicare Advantage is the new name for voluntary managed care options in Medicare (also know as Medicare Part C and formerly "Medicare+Choice"). Medicare Advantage plans are now available in nearly every area of the country. Beneficiaries who select a MA plan elect to receive all Medicare benefits through the...
Sophisticated health care purchasers and health plans know the value of prescription drug data. When analyzed with paid claims data from physicians and hospitals, data from pharmacy claims can be used to identify, understand, and track a wide range of issues. Starting January 2006, when the 6.5 million dual eligibles...
The new Medicare prescription drug benefit presents major marketing challenges for both the competing drug plans and officials at CMS and SSA. While the feds must conduct a massive outreach campaign to educate 43 million Medicare beneficiaries about the complex program, the drug plan sponsors must market their plan...
As promised, here's my list of likely losers under the new Medicare prescription drug benefit: ● Dual Eligibles: These 6.5 million highly vulnerable beneficiaries will lose their Medicaid drug benefit and be enrolled in the less generous, slightly more expensive, far more complex Medicare drug benefit. They also face the...
Rube Goldberg believed there were two ways to do things - the simple way and the hard way. And that, for some inexplicable reason, many people preferred doing things the hard way. His famous cartoons illustrated the tendency of human beings to exert maximum effort to achieve minimal results. Notwithstanding...
While the feds work to fix a series of technical problems plaguing the new Medicare Part D drug benefit, governors are stepping in to help ensure dual eligibles and other vulnerable beneficiaries have access to prescription drugs. As a result, states are incurring millions of dollars of costs. They...
For outpatient prescription drugs, Medicare has two distinct programs with a maze of complex policies. Physicians, Medicare patients, retail pharmacies, Medicare drug plans, Medicare Advantage health plans, nursing homes, and long-term care pharmacies are all struggling with how to navigate Medicare drug coverage under Part B and Part D....

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