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An Examination of Surprise Medical Bills and Proposals to Protect Consumers from Them

This analysis examines how often patients get hit with surprise medical bills, what circumstances tend to give rise to them and what proposals are being considered to protect consumers from this problem.

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The Out-of-Pocket Cost Burden for Specialty Drugs in Medicare Part D in 2019

Medicare Part D has helped to make prescription drugs more affordable for people with Medicare, yet many beneficiaries continue to face high out-of-pocket costs for their medications. Specialty tier drugs are a particular concern for Part D enrollees in this context. This analysis draws on data from Medicare’s Plan Finder website to calculate expected annual 2019 out-of-pocket costs for 30 specialty tier drugs used to treat four health conditions—cancer, hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

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Medicare Advantage 2020 Spotlight: First Look

In 2020, more than 22 million Medicare beneficiaries (34%) are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, which are mainly HMOs and PPOs offered by private insurers as an alternative to the traditional Medicare program. This data note provides an overview of the Medicare Advantage plans that will be available in 2020, including the variation in the number of plans available by county and plan type. The brief also examines the insurers entering the Medicare Advantage market for the first time and also examines the insurers exiting the market.

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Medicare Beneficiaries Without Supplemental Coverage Are at Risk for Out-of-Pocket Costs Relating to COVID-19 Treatment

Most Medicare Advantage enrollees are in plans that have waived cost sharing for COVID-19 treatment, and many other beneficiaries in traditional Medicare have their cost sharing covered by supplemental insurance. This blog post discusses the 6 million Medicare beneficiaries without supplemental coverage who would face out-of-pocket costs if they require treatment for COVID-19.

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Analysis Compares President Trump and Democratic Nominee Biden on COVID-19

Few issues are likely to matter as much to voters in November’s presidential election as President Trump’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis, which have left almost 200,000 Americans dead and prompted job layoffs and furloughs affecting tens of millions of Americans. A new election brief compares…

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A Status Report on Prescription Drug Policies and Proposals at the Start of the Biden Administration

This brief provides a status update on prescription drug final rules advanced by the Trump Administration in its final months related to Medicare, importation, and 340B pricing for insulin and epinephrine, and an overview of key drug pricing proposals related to Medicare and prescription drug prices generally that were voted on but not enacted in the previous Congress that may return to the forefront of health policy discussions in the coming years.

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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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Vaccines Are Free. Covid Care Is Not. Who Should Pay?

In this commentary for Barron’s, Cynthia Cox explores the impact to the American public as the U.S. health insurance system adjusts to the COVID-19 pandemic. She uses the experience of the past year and a half to raise questions about broader issues of fairness in the distribution of health care costs in the country.

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Key Issues in Understanding the Economic and Health Security of Current and Future Generations of Seniors

As part of broad deficit-reduction plans, policymakers are considering reforms to the nation’s three major entitlement programs – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – that could significantly affect the economic security of seniors in their retirement years. This brief examines the role of these programs in ensuring seniors’ financial security…

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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.