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Medicare And Medicaid At 50

Medicare and Medicaid were signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 30, 1965 in a bipartisan effort to provide health insurance coverage for low-income, disabled, and elderly Americans. In their 50 year history, each of these programs has come to play a key role in providing health coverage to millions of Americans today and make up a significant component of federal and state budgets. As major programs both in size and scope, their role and the ways in which they operate are often debated by policymakers and the public alike. As the programs reach their 50th year, the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a nationally representative survey of Americans to explore the public’s views of these programs, their experiences as beneficiaries, and their opinions on proposals for future changes.

Modifying Medicare’s Benefit Design: What’s the Impact on Beneficiaries and Spending?

This report examines an approach to reforming Medicare that has been a focus of Congressional hearings and featured in several broader debt reduction and entitlement reform proposals, and was included in the June 2016 House Republican health plan. The analysis models four different options for modifying Medicare’s benefit design, all of which include a single deductible, modified cost-sharing requirements, a new cost-sharing limit, and a prohibition on first-dollar Medigap coverage. The analysis models the expected effects on out-of-pocket spending by beneficiaries in traditional Medicare, and assesses how each option is expected to affect spending by the federal government, state Medicaid programs, employers, and other payers, assuming full implementation in 2018.

Safety-Net Emergency Departments: A Look at Current Experiences and Challenges

Safety-net hospital emergency departments (EDs) are an important part of our health care system, especially, but not only, for the uninsured and others with low income. With multiple major changes unfolding in our system today, including the development of new models of health care delivery, payment reforms, expanded insurance coverage, and increasing demand for primary care access, safety-net EDs are a sort of crucible in which these shifts and transitions can be seen playing out. To understand more about their current experiences and challenges as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) begins to takes hold, we conducted interviews with ED directors in a convenience sample of 15 safety-net hospitals around the country in June and July 2014.

Medicare Part D: A First Look at Plan Offerings in 2016

During the Medicare open enrollment period, beneficiaries have the opportunity to enroll in a plan that provides Part D prescription drug coverage, either a stand-alone prescription drug plan (PDP) to supplement traditional Medicare, or a Medicare Advantage drug plan. This issue brief provides an overview of the 2016 PDP marketplace, focusing on key changes from 2015, based on analysis of data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. It presents analysis of PDP availability, premiums, benefit design, and low-income subsidy plans.

What Could a Medicaid Per Capita Cap Mean for Low-Income People on Medicare?

Policymakers are currently considering proposals that would fundamentally change the structure and financing of Medicaid, and potentially affect 11 million people on Medicare. This brief discusses the potential implications of Medicaid per capita cap or block grant proposals for the 11 million low-income seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare. It also describes how the per capita cap model proposed in the American Health Care Act could potentially affect low-income people on Medicare who receive assistance from Medicaid.

Improving the Affordability of Coverage through the Basic Health Program in Minnesota and New York

To date, Minnesota and New York are the only states to have adopted a Basic Health Program (BHP), an option in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that permits state-administered coverage in lieu of marketplace coverage for those with incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level (FPL) who would otherwise qualify for marketplace subsidies. BHP covers adults with incomes between 138-200% of FPL and lawfully present non-citizens with incomes below 138% FPL whose immigration status makes them ineligible for Medicaid. This brief reviews Minnesota’s and New York’s approaches to BHP and assesses BHP’s impact on consumers, marketplaces, and state costs. Although there is uncertainty around the future of the ACA (including BHP) following the 2016 election, BHP implementation offers important lessons for consideration in future reforms about structuring coverage programs for low-income uninsured consumers.

The Effects of Premiums and Cost Sharing on Low-Income Populations: Updated Review of Research Findings

This brief reviews research from 65 papers published between 2000 and March 2017 on the effects of premiums and cost sharing on low-income populations in Medicaid and CHIP. This research has primarily focused on how premiums and cost sharing affect coverage and access to and use of care; some studies also have examined effects on safety net providers and state savings.

Seniors and Income Inequality: How Things Get Worse With Age

In this column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman discusses why seniors need to be included in the national discussion on income inequality, especially as proposals to change Medicare and Social Security are considered.

Analysis Examines How Gaining Health Coverage Affected Consumers’ Lives in 2014

An analysis of a 2014 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that previously uninsured Americans who obtained health coverage that year experienced improved access to care and a decrease in financial insecurity, though they remained concerned about cost.  The analysis of the 2014 Kaiser Survey of Low-Income Americans and…

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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.