With national attention focused on COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, we examined cases and deaths among people in assisted living facilities, as well as how states are regulating such facilities in response to the pandemic. Because these facilities are not regulated by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, it turns out that not much data is available. And given the paucity of state-reported data on case and death numbers in assisted living facilities specifically, the picture of disease incidence and mortality in them is profoundly incomplete.
Having Medicare coverage does not alleviate the burden of medical costs. In 2017, one in six Medicare beneficiaries had problems getting care or delayed care due to cost, or had problems paying medical bills, and the percentage was significantly higher among beneficiaries in fair or poor health, those with low incomes, and those without supplemental coverage.
The nation’s long-term care workers are disproportionately low wage employees, they tend to have direct and frequent contact with patients, and many are middle-aged or older. That makes them a group that is at higher risk of coronavirus infection and generally less suited to weather the financial and physical trials of getting sick.
Medicare Part D enrollees would have paid roughly 30 percent less out-of-pocket for insulin in 2017 had the Trump administration’s new plan to cap insulin costs been in effect that year, according to our analysis. The examination of the administration’s new voluntary Part D model is part of a broader look at costs and coverage for insulin in Medicare Part D.
Even before the effects of the coronavirus pandemic are fully realized, our analysis finds many Medicare beneficiaries lived on limited incomes and modest, if any, savings, with wide disparities by age, gender and race/ethnicity. That raises questions about the extent to which Medicare beneficiaries will be able to bear additional, unanticipated costs that are likely to arise from the pandemic.
Congress, the Trump Administration and the Biden campaign have all proposed ways to lower prescription drug costs. Our chartpack summarizes key elements in these proposals and their likely impact on prices, people and federal spending.
A relatively small share of people with Medicare Advantage or stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage voluntarily switch plans during Medicare’s open enrollment period from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7.