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Medicare Part D: A First Look at Prescription Drug Plans in 2018

This issue brief provides an overview of the 2018 Medicare Part D stand-alone prescription drug plan landscape, the largest segment of the Part D marketplace, It includes national and state-level data on plan availability, premiums, benefit design, cost sharing, information about premium-free plans for low-income beneficiaries, and information about the top ten Part D plans in 2018.

Surprise Medical Bills

This brief explores the problem of “surprise medical bills” — charges arising when an insured individual inadvertently receives care from an out-of-network provider. It reviews studies on the extent of the issue, including Kaiser Family Foundation polling data, and outlines state and federal policy responses, including rules and proposed rules for Medicare and plans in Affordable Care Act marketplaces.

Medical Debt Among Insured Consumers: The Role of Cost Sharing, Transparency, and Consumer Assistance

This policy insight examines medical debt among insured consumers, exploring how high cost sharing in health insurance plans can contribute, and explaining how greater transparency could help consumers avoid some financial pitfalls. It also provides an update on provisions of the Affordable Care Act meant to increase health plan transparency and bolster consumer assistance.

What’s in Store for Medicare’s Part B Premiums and Deductible in 2016, and Why?

As a result of the recently-enacted Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, the Medicare Part B monthly premium will be $121.80 in 2016 according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, an increase of 16 percent over the 2015 amount for 30 percent of beneficiaries —far lower than the 52 percent increase initially projected by the Medicare actuaries. This Issue Brief reviews how Medicare Part B premiums and deductibles are affected by the recent budget deal (including the premium surcharge that covers the costs) and explains the connection between the Social Security cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), Medicare premiums, and the “hold harmless” provision that will keep premiums flat for 70 percent of beneficiaries in 2016.

The Burden of Medical Debt: Results from the Kaiser Family Foundation/New York Times Medical Bills Survey

To date, there has been little research providing a quantitative look at the causes of medical bill problems and the impacts they have on people’s families, their finances, and their access to health care. To fill this gap, the Kaiser Family Foundation and The New York Times conducted an in-depth survey with 1,204 adults ages 18-64 who report that they or someone in their household had problems paying or an inability to pay medical bills in the previous 12 months.

Patient Cost-Sharing in Marketplace Plans, 2016

This brief and accompanying slides examine cost sharing – deductibles, copayments and coinsurance – in 2016 insurance plans sold on the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) federally-facilitated marketplaces. The analysis looks at out-of-pocket limits, as well as cost sharing for hospital stays, physician visits, emergency room visits, and prescription drugs, for plans across the metal levels (platinum, gold, silver and bronze).

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