Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues

President Donald Trump and the GOP congressional leaders have talked about modernizing Medicare, including a proposal from House Republicans to create a premium-support system for Medicare.  In the wake of passage of the GOP tax bill, which is expected to add to the national debt, there may be a focus on reining in the cost of entitlement programs such as Medicare, which may have significant implications for the Medicare program and its beneficiaries. The Trump administration also has shown interest in prescription drug spending in Medicare as well as in Medicare delivery system reform efforts such as Accountable Care Organizations, bundled payments and medical homes. Medicare Advantage now covers 1 in 3 Medicare beneficiaries and recent trends toward consolidation among insurers could have implications for beneficiaries.
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Medigap Reform: Setting the Context for Understanding Recent Proposals

This brief presents the most current data available on the Medicare supplemental insurance (Medigap) market, including enrollment and premiums by state and plan type, analyzes how many beneficiaries have first dollar coverage (particularly Plans C and F), and describes recent Medigap proposals that have emerged as part of efforts to reduce Medicare spending and the national debt.

Health Care on a Budget: The Financial Burden of Health Spending by Medicare Households

The Medicare program offers health and financial protection to nearly 50 million seniors and younger people with disabilities, though many beneficiaries still face significant out-of-pocket expenses. This analysis examines how much Medicare households spend on health-related expenses compared to other spending priorities and compared to non-Medicare households, the extent to which Medicare households’ health spending as a share of household budgets varies by age and poverty level, and changes in Medicare households’ health spending over time.

Medicare and the Federal Budget: Comparison of Medicare Provisions in Recent Federal Debt and Deficit Reduction Proposals

This brief provides a side-by-side comparison of Medicare provisions included in broad-based packages to reduce the deficit and debt put forward by the President and the Chairmen of the House and Senate Budget Committees. In addition, this brief summarizes Medicare provisions included in other deficit- and debt- reduction proposals released since January 2012 and describes recent activities that pertain to Medicare and the federal budget, including Medicare’s role in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the fiscal cliff and sequestration.

Adding an Out-of-Pocket Spending Maximum to Medicare: Implementation Issues and Challenges

In an effort to simplify Medicare’s cost-sharing requirements, provide beneficiaries with catastrophic protection, and achieve program savings, some have proposed to restructure Medicare’s benefit design. Several recent proposals would create a unified deductible for Medicare Parts A and B, simplify cost-sharing requirements above the deductible, and add an annual limit on beneficiary out-of-pocket spending—a benefit feature typical of larger employer plans, but lacking in traditional Medicare. This issue brief describes the options for adding an out-of-pocket spending limit to Medicare and examines the operational issues that could arise in implementing both a uniform and an income-based out-of-pocket spending limit. Because the implementation of an income-related out-of-pocket maximum would pose somewhat greater complexity for Medicare, the operational issues associated with this approach are discussed in greater detail.

Income-Related Premiums in Medicare: Who Pays, and How Much Do They Pay?

Since 2007, seniors with incomes greater than $85,000 have had to pay higher premiums for Medicare than their counterparts with lower incomes.  Six percent of Medicare Part B enrollees are expected to pay higher monthly premiums in 2015, ranging from $147 to $336, depending on their income.  Lawmakers on Capitol…

The Gap in Medigap

This policy insight examines the low rate of Medigap coverage among people under age 65 with disabilities on Medicare and the federal law that governs consumer rights and protections related to Medigap open enrollment.