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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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More Than Half of All People on Medicare Do Not Compare Their Coverage Options Annually

This analysis shows that more than half of Medicare beneficiaries do not compare coverage options annually during the open enrollment period, despite the fact that Medicare Advantage and Part D plans often change from one year to the next, which could lead to unexpected and avoidable costs for beneficiaries who do not review their options annually. It also highlights that many beneficiaries have difficulty understanding the Medicare program and comparing coverage options. Further, it shows that most beneficiaries do not use Medicare’s official information resources.

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Medicare Open Enrollment FAQs

This list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Medicare Open Enrollment covers a range of topics related to Medicare enrollment, Medicare Advantage, Part D, Medigap, employer/retiree coverage, Medicaid and other low-income assistance, Medicare and the Marketplaces, and more.

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Lower Flu Vaccination Rates Among Black, Hispanic, and Low-Income Seniors Suggest Challenges for COVID-19 Vaccination Efforts

People 65 and older, who have been hardest hit by COVID-19 in terms of hospitalizations and deaths, are also at high risk of severe flu illness and are more likely to die of the flu than younger people. This analysis explores variation in the rate of flu vaccination among adults ages 65 and older covered by Medicare, and reasons cited for not getting vaccinated, based on data from the 2018 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey.

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Medicare’s Finances Have Gotten Much Worse in Recent Years, Foreshadowing Tough Choices for November’s Winners

This policy watch post discusses the latest Medicare Hospital Insurance trust fund solvency projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which show the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has hurt Medicare’s financial outlook, and foreshadow the tough choices facing the next President and Congress.

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KFF Analysis: Number of Coronavirus Cases, Distribution of $30B in CARES Act funding and Medicare Advantage Penetration by State

Number of Coronavirus Cases, Distribution of $30B in CARES Act funding and Medicare Advantage Penetration by State State Number of COVID-19 Cases on April 21, 2020 Percent of Total COVID-19 Cases First Distribution of CARES Act Payments Percent of Total Money Distributed Percent of Medicare Beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage, 2020…

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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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Problems Getting Care Due to Cost or Paying Medical Bills Among Medicare Beneficiaries

There is ongoing discussion as to whether Congress should waive COVID-19 treatment costs. To inform these discussions, this analysis examines the extent of health care cost-related problems among Medicare beneficiaries. The analysis is based on a composite measure of cost-related burdens that includes problems getting care due to cost, delays seeking care due to cost, and problems paying medical bills among people with Medicare.

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Examining Medicare Part D Policies for Extended Supplies of Medication

Medicare Part D plan sponsors, which provide drug coverage to 45 million older adults and people with disabilities, have the option to relax their ‘refill too soon’ restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as part of efforts to ensure adequate access to medications in disasters or emergencies. This analysis examines the share of Part D enrollees who currently have access to extended supplies of generic, brand-name, and specialty-tier drugs covered by their plan in 2020, prior to relaxation of any early-fill restrictions in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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