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Do People Who Sign Up for Medicare Advantage Plans Have Lower Medicare Spending?

The analysis finds that people who switched from traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage in 2016 had health spending in 2015 that was $1,253 less, on average, than the average spending for beneficiaries who remained in traditional Medicare (after adjusting for health risk). The findings suggest that the current payment method may systematically overestimate expected costs of Medicare Advantage enrollees. Adjusting payments to reflect Medicare Advantage enrollees’ prior use of health services could potentially lower total Medicare spending by billions of dollars over a decade.

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What’s the Latest on Medicare Drug Price Negotiations?

In response to prescription drug spending growth and heightened attention to drug prices, some policymakers have proposed allowing the federal government to negotiate the price of prescription drugs for Medicare and private payers. This brief describes the current status of drug price negotiation proposals, looks back at the history of proposals to give the federal government the authority to negotiate drug prices in Medicare, describes the negotiation provisions in key legislation (H.R. 3), and discusses the potential spending effects for the federal government, beneficiaries, and private payers.

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Potential Savings for Medicare Part D Enrollees Under Proposals to Add a Hard Cap on Out-of-Pocket Spending

Medicare Part D, the outpatient prescription drug benefit for Medicare beneficiaries, provides coverage above a catastrophic threshold for high out-of-pocket drug costs, but there is no cap on total out-of-pocket drug costs that beneficiaries pay each year. Recent legislative proposals would add a cap on out-of-pocket spending under Part D. This analysis focuses on the potential impact of different out-of-pocket spending caps in terms of how many beneficiaries would be affected and how much they could save.

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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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Millions of Medicare Beneficiaries Use Prescription Drugs That Could Be Subject to Price Negotiation, But Build Back Better Act Provision Exempts Many Drugs With High Federal Spending

Twenty drugs and dozens of insulin products used by 8.5 million Medicare beneficiaries would be subject to government drug price negotiation if the Build Back Better Act (BBBA) were enacted and fully implemented in 2022, according to a new KFF analysis. The 20 drugs include 18 drugs available to beneficiaries…

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Explaining the Prescription Drug Provisions in the Build Back Better Act

The Build Back Better Act includes several provisions that would lower prescription drug costs for people with Medicare and private insurance and reduce drug spending by the federal government and private payers. This brief summarizes these provisions and discusses the expected effects on people, program spending, and drug prices and innovation.

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How Would the Prescription Drug Provisions in the Senate Reconciliation Proposal Affect Medicare Beneficiaries?

The brief provides a quick explainer of the prescription drug provisions in legislative text released by the Senate Finance Committee to be included in a forthcoming reconciliation bill and presents new estimates on how many Medicare beneficiaries could be helped by those provisions.

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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.