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An Overview of Medicare

This issue brief provides an overview of Medicare, the health insurance program for people ages 65 and over and younger people with permanent disabilities. The brief review the characteristics of people on Medicare, what Medicare covers, benefit gaps and supplemental coverage, beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket health care spending, program spending and financing, payment and delivery system reform, and issues for the future of Medicare.

No Limit: Medicare Part D Enrollees Exposed to High Out-of-Pocket Drug Costs Without a Hard Cap on Spending

The Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit has helped improve the affordability of medications for people with Medicare, but enrollees can face relatively high out-of-pocket drug costs because there is no hard cap on out-of-pocket spending under Part D. This analysis examines out-of-pocket prescription drug spending among Medicare Part D enrollees with costs above the catastrophic coverage threshold.

Medicare’s Income-Related Premiums Under Current Law and Proposed Changes

Most people with Medicare pay the standard monthly premium for Part B and Part D coverage, which is set to cover 25 percent of Part B and Part D program costs, but a relatively small share of beneficiaries are required to pay higher premiums. This issue brief describes current requirements with respect to Medicare’s Part B and Part D income-related premiums and proposed changes under House legislation being considered in November 2017.

Poll: Family Members of Older Adults with Serious Illness Are More Confident That They Know Their Medical Wishes When They Have Written Documents

Most Seriously Ill Seniors Struggle with Cognitive and Mental Health Challenges; Nearly Half Reportedly Have Problems Understanding Drug and Medical Instructions Seniors with serious illness and their families are more likely to feel their wishes for medical care are being followed when they have written them down, finds a new…

Serious Illness in Late Life: The Public’s Views and Experiences

In context of the rapidly growing number of older adults in the U.S. and increasing challenges that this population faces, the Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a large scale, nationally representative telephone survey to better understand people’s expectations about later life and efforts they’ve taken to plan for if they become seriously ill. To learn more about the experiences of those with serious illness specifically, this survey also included interviews with adults who are either personally age 65 or older living with a serious illness, or have an older family member who is or was before they recently died.

Key Issues in Long-Term Services and Supports Quality

This issue brief discusses four key issues related to long-term services and supports (LTSS) including institutional and home and community-based services (HCBS) quality, highlighting major legislative and policy changes over the last 30 years since the passage of the Nursing Home Reform Act.

Medicare Part D: A First Look at Prescription Drug Plans in 2018

This issue brief provides an overview of the 2018 Medicare Part D stand-alone prescription drug plan landscape, the largest segment of the Part D marketplace, 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 top ten Part D plans in 2018.

The Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit

This fact sheet includes the latest information and data for 2018 about the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, including current plan information, the standard benefit parameters, low-income assistance, the latest available enrollment data, and Part D program spending and financing.

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 (CMS) Office of the Actuary (OACT), the 2017 annual report of the Boards of Medicare Trustees, and the 2017 Medicare baseline and projections from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). It discusses historical and projected spending trends, program financing, Medicare’s financial condition, the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), and the future outlook.

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Headquarters: 2400 Sand Hill Road, Menlo Park, CA 94025 | Phone 650-854-9400
Washington Offices and Barbara Jordan Conference Center: 1330 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005 | Phone 202-347-5270

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.