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The Facts on Medicare Spending and Financing

This issue brief examines the latest facts about Medicare spending and financing, including the most recent historical and projected Medicare spending data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary, the 2019 annual report of the Boards of Medicare Trustees, and the 2019 Medicare baseline and projections from the Congressional Budget Office. It discusses historical and projected spending trends, program financing, Medicare’s financial condition, and the future outlook.

Data Note: Prescription Drugs and Older Adults

This data note explores the attitudes and experiences of older adults, ages 65 and up, when it comes to prescription drugs and related policy proposals being discussed. Experiences across different demographic groups are explored, such as household income and health status.

Financial Performance of Medicare Advantage, Individual, and Group Health Insurance Markets

Three key private health insurance markets — Medicare Advantage, the individual market and the fully-insured group market — appear to be financially healthy and attractive to insurers. The private Medicare Advantage market generates significantly larger gross margins per person than the individual market or fully-insured market. The future of these markets has become a focus for policymakers amid the debate over Medicare for All.

Prescription Drug Rebates, Explained

This animation explains how rebates for prescription drugs work and why they matter in the debate about lowering drug costs. The video breaks down how prescription drug rebates are determined, who benefits from them, how they affect spending by insurers and consumers and the role of pharmacy benefit managers in…

How Many Medicare Part D Enrollees Had High Out-of-Pocket Drug Costs in 2017?

The Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit has helped improve the affordability of medications for people with Medicare. Yet Part D enrollees can face relatively high out-of-pocket costs because the Part D benefit does not have a hard cap on out-of-pocket spending. This analysis presents the latest data on out-of-pocket drug spending among Medicare Part D enrollees without low-income subsidies who have costs above the catastrophic coverage threshold.

A Dozen Facts About Medicare Advantage in 2019

Medicare Advantage enrollment has grown rapidly over the past decade, and Medicare Advantage plans have taken on a larger role in the Medicare program. More than 22 million Medicare beneficiaries (34%) are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans in 2019. This data note provides updated information about Medicare Advantage enrollment trends, premiums, and out-of-pocket limits. It also includes analyses of Medicare Advantage plans’ extra benefits and prior authorization requirements.

What Percent of New Medicare Beneficiaries Are Enrolling in Medicare Advantage?

The analysis examines enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans during beneficiaries’ first year on Medicare and finds that less than one-third or 29% enrolled in these private health plans, including HMOs or PPOs. The majority of people new to Medicare are choosing traditional Medicare in the year they first go on Medicare. The study looks at how these findings vary across age, Medicaid status, states, and counties.

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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.