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Medicare and Medicaid at 50

With Medicare and Medicaid turning 50 this year, this updated video provides a brief history of both programs, including: an examination of the health care, social and political landscape that gave rise to them, the significant ways each program has evolved over five decades, and the important roles they play in the U.S. health care system. The video includes archival footage, as well as commentary and perspective from policymakers, government officials and experts.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

How Much (More) Will Seniors Pay for a Doc Fix?

In this Policy Insight, the Foundation’s Cristina Boccuti and Tricia Neuman examine how Congress’ effort to permanently stave off scheduled cuts in Medicare’s physician payments could affect what Medicare beneficiaries pay for their care — both in premiums and in other potential changes — to offset the cost of the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) “doc fix.”

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Medicare Advantage 2016 Data Spotlight: Overview of Plan Changes

This issue brief analyzes the number and variety of Medicare Advantage plan choices available to beneficiaries in 2016. 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.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

It Pays to Shop: Variation in Out-of-Pocket Costs for Medicare Part D Enrollees in 2016

This analysis focuses on out-of-pocket drug costs for Medicare Part D enrollees in 2016 for specialty, brand, and generic drugs. Part D drug plans differ considerably in the drugs they list on their formularies, their use of formulary tiers, and the level and structure of cost sharing applied to those tiers. Plan decisions affect different beneficiaries in different ways, depending on the drugs they use. The financial consequences for Part D plan enrollees can be substantial. In addition to examining costs for common drugs, we also examine profiles of multiple drugs for several hypothetical Part D enrollees.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Although a Small Share of Medicare Part D Enrollees Take Specialty Drugs, A New Analysis Finds Those Who Do Can Face Thousands of Dollars in Out-of-Pocket Drug Costs Despite Plan Limits on Catastrophic Expenses

Some Medicare Part D enrollees can expect to pay thousands of dollars out-of-pocket for a single specialty drug in 2016, even though Part D plans provide substantial protection against catastrophic costs, according to a new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The findings illustrate how high prescription drug prices, one…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Brief Explains Why Medicare Part B Premiums Will Increase by 16 percent, not 52 percent, in 2016 for 3 in 10 Beneficiaries Due to the Recent Budget Deal

As a result of the recently enacted budget deal in Congress, the 2016 Medicare Part B monthly premium will be $121.80, increasing by 16 percent over the 2015 amount—far lower than the increase initially projected by the Medicare actuaries, a new brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation explains. The Part…

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

To Switch or Not to Switch: Are Medicare Beneficiaries Switching Drug Plans To Save Money?

This analysis finds that relatively few Medicare beneficiaries have switched Part D prescription drug plans voluntarily during the annual open enrollment period — even though those who do switch often lower their out-of-pocket costs as a result of changing plans. The vast majority (87% on average between 2006 and 2010) stayed in the same Part D plan, even though the plans can change premiums, deductibles, cost-sharing amounts, and their list of covered drugs each year. Higher rates of plan switching were observed in PDPs that increased premiums, increased deductibles, or dropped coverage of brand-name drugs in the coverage gap.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Medicare Part D: A First Look at Plan Offerings in 2014

The 2014 Part D Data Spotlight analyzes information about the Medicare Part D stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) options available to beneficiaries in 2014. The analysis shows that Medicare beneficiaries on average will have a choice of 35 stand-alone prescription drug plans in 2014, and somewhat more “benchmark” plans available to Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) beneficiaries nationwide. The weighted average premium will increase by 5 percent between 2013 and 2014 if enrollees remain in the same plans next year. The analysis also finds more plans are using preferred pharmacy networks and adopting a growing number of cost-sharing formulary tiers for different drugs.

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Retiree Health Benefits At the Crossroads

This issue brief reviews recent trends and developments in employer-sponsored retiree health coverage and examines the impact of recent legislation, such as the Medicare drug benefit and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on retiree health coverage. The report describes leading strategies employers have been pursuing or considering to limit costs for retiree health benefits. In addition, the report considers the potential implications of proposals aimed at reducing federal spending for retiree health coverage and costs.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Paying a Visit to the Doctor: Current Financial Protections for Medicare Patients When Receiving Physician Services

As the Congress continues to work on reforming Medicare payments for physician services, a new Kaiser Family Foundation brief examines key provisions in current law that help provide safeguards and financial protections for beneficiaries when they visit their doctor, and explains how potential changes could affect beneficiaries, providers, and the…

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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.