On March 4, 2014, the Office of Management and Budget released President Obama’s budget for fiscal year (FY) 2015, which includes provisions related to federal spending and revenues, including Medicare savings. The President’s budget would use federal savings and revenues to reduce the federal debt and replace sequestration of Medicare and other federal programs for 2015 through 2024. This brief summarizes the Medicare provisions included in the President’s budget proposal for FY 2015.
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Senior Vice President Patricia Neuman testified before the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging as part of its hearing entitled Income Security and the Elderly: Securing Gains Made in the War on Poverty. As part of her testimony, she presented segments from a Foundation-produced video that highlights what it means to be old and poor in our country.
While the Census Bureau’s official poverty measure shows 9 percent of seniors nationally live in poverty, the share climbs to about one in seven seniors (15 percent) under the Bureau’s alternative Supplemental Poverty Measure, which takes into account out-of-pocket health expenses and geographic differences in the cost of living. Produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Old and Poor: America’s Forgotten provides a portrait of seniors who are living in poverty, in both urban and rural areas across the United States.
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.
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.
As policymakers consider ways to slow the growth in Medicare spending as part of broader efforts to reduce the federal debt or offset the cost of other spending priorities, some have proposed to increase beneficiary contributions through higher Medicare premiums. This issue brief explains provisions of current law that impose income-related premiums under Medicare Part B and Part D, describes recent proposals to modify these requirements, and analyzes the potential implications for the Medicare population.
Healthier and Wealthier, or Sicker and Poorer? Prospects for Medicare Beneficiaries Now and in the Future
This January 2014 briefing, co-sponsored by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Alliance for Health Reform, examines what is known about the health and economic security of Medicare beneficiaries today, as well as how current and future beneficiaries may be affected by the leading proposals that aim to achieve Medicare savings.
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.
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.
Wide Disparities in the Income and Assets of People on Medicare by Race and Ethnicity: Now and in the Future
This report examines the income, savings, and home equity of current and future Medicare beneficiaries, focusing on racial/ethnic disparities. The report finds that these differences in the financial well-being of white, black and Hispanic beneficiaries persist across age, education level, marital status, and other demographic factors.