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Options to Make Medicare More Affordable For Beneficiaries Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond

Medicare provides significant health and financial protections to more than 60 million Americans, but there are gaps in coverage and high cost-sharing requirements that can make health care difficult to afford. This report analyzes several policy options that could help make health care more affordable for people covered by Medicare, especially beneficiaries with relatively low incomes: adding an out-of-pocket limit to traditional Medicare, adding a hard out-of-pocket cap to Part D, expanding financial assistance through the Medicare Savings Programs, and expanding financial assistance through the Part D low-income subsidy program.

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FAQs on Medicare Coverage and Costs Related to COVID-19 Testing and Treatment

These FAQs provide the latest guidance on testing and treatment related to COVID-19 for Medicare beneficiaries, including questions related to out-of-pocket costs, the COVID-19 vaccine, telehealth, extended supplies of medication, skilled nursing facility stays, and issues for people in private Medicare Advantage plans.

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Cost-Sharing Waivers and Premium Relief by Private Plans in Response to COVID-19 (Nov. 2020 Update)

An updated issue brief estimates the number of enrollees in individual and fully-insured group market plans that have waived cost-sharing – out-of-pocket costs including coinsurance, copayments, and deductibles – for COVID-19 treatment. The analysis also estimates the number of enrollees whose insurer is offering various forms of premium payment relief.…

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Tracking Section 1332 State Innovation Waivers

This interactive map shows the status of all Section 1332 waivers requested by states. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) allows states to apply for innovation waivers to alter key ACA requirements in the individual and small group insurance markets and can be used to shore up fragile insurance markets, address unique state insurance market issues, or experiment with alternative models of providing coverage to state residents.

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Medicare Advantage 2021 Spotlight: First Look

For 2021, the average Medicare beneficiary has access to 33 Medicare Advantage plans, the largest number of options available in the last decade, and can choose from plans offered by eight firms. Among the majority of Medicare Advantage plans that cover prescription drugs, 54 percent will charge no premium in addition to the monthly Medicare Part B premium. As in previous years, the vast majority of Medicare Advantage plans will offer supplemental fitness, dental, vision, and hearing benefits. In addition, virtually all will also offer telehealth benefits in 2021.

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Medicare Part D: A First Look at Medicare Prescription Drug Plans in 2021

This issue brief provides an overview of the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit plan landscape for 2021, with a focus on stand-alone drug plans. 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 national Part D drug plans available in 2021.

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A Reconfigured U.S. Supreme Court: Implications for Health Policy

U.S. Supreme Court decisions shape health policy in important ways. The nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, if confirmed, is expected to establish a solid 6:3 conservative majority that could affect case outcomes in several areas. This issue brief considers the potential implications of a reconfigured Court for health policy issues, including those already on the Court’s docket for the coming term and those that the Court may choose to consider in this term or in the future.

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Average Family Premiums Rose 4% to $21,342 in 2020, Benchmark KFF Employer Health Benefit Survey Finds

San Francisco – Annual family premiums for employer-sponsored health insurance rose 4% to average $21,342 this year, according to the 2020 benchmark KFF Employer Health Benefits Survey. On average, workers this year are contributing $5,588 toward the cost of family coverage, with employers paying the rest. The survey was conducted…

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2020 Employer Health Benefits Survey

This annual survey of employers provides a detailed look at trends in employer-sponsored health coverage, including premiums, employee contributions, cost-sharing provisions, offer rates, wellness programs, and employer practices. Annual premiums for employer-sponsored family health coverage reached $21,342 this year, up 4% from last year, with workers on average paying $5,588 toward the cost of their coverage.

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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.