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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.

Millions of Medicare Part D Enrollees Have Had Out-of-Pocket Drug Spending Above the Catastrophic Threshold Over Time

Medicare Part D, the outpatient prescription drug benefit for Medicare beneficiaries, provides catastrophic coverage for high out-of-pocket drug costs, but there is no limit on the total amount that beneficiaries have to pay out of pocket each year. Policymakers on both sides of the aisle support proposals to modify the design of the Part D benefit and establish a hard cap on out-of-pocket prescription drug spending by Part D enrollees. This analysis shows the number of Part D enrollees without low-income subsidies who have exceeded the catastrophic coverage threshold annually, and over multiple years, based on 2007-2019 Part D claims data.

State Options to Expand Medicaid HCBS: Examples & Evaluations of Section 1115 Waivers

States are currently developing plans to access an increased federal matching rate (“FMAP”) for Medicaid HCBS spending established in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021. In the future, states may also be able to access increased HCBS funds proposed in the Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan and the Better Care Better Jobs Act recently introduced in Congress. This brief highlights examples of Medicaid HCBS policy changes authorized through Section 1115 demonstration waivers in seven states (Arizona, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington). Where available, we discuss waiver evaluation findings and reports that assess the impact of these policy changes.

Although Their Share of the Market Varies By State, Enrollment in Medicare Advantage Plans Has More Than Doubled Over the Past Decade, with More than 4 in 10 Medicare Beneficiaries Now Enrolled in the Private Plans

The private plans known as Medicare Advantage now cover more than 4 in 10 Medicare beneficiaries, reflecting a more than doubling of enrollment over the past decade even as the plans remain a far larger presence in some states than others, according to a new KFF analysis. More than 26…

Medicare Advantage in 2021: Enrollment Update and Key Trends

Medicare Advantage enrollment has steadily increased both nationally and within most states since 2005, with more than 40 percent of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans in 2021. The share of Medicare Advantage enrollees varies across the country: in 26 states and Puerto Rico, at least 40 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans in 2021, and at least 50 percent in Florida, Minnesota and Puerto Rico. In a growing number of counties, more than half of all Medicare beneficiaries are in a Medicare Advantage plan, in lieu of traditional Medicare. Enrollment continues to be highly concentrated among a handful of firms, both nationally and in local markets, with UnitedHealthcare and Humana together accounting for 45 percent of enrollment in 2021.

Medicare Advantage in 2021: Premiums, Cost Sharing, Out-of-Pocket Limits and Supplemental Benefits

In 2021, nearly two-thirds of Medicare Advantage enrollees are in plans that do not charge a premium (other than the Part B premium), although the remaining third do pay a premium, averaging about $60 per month. Most enrollees are in plans that provide access to a variety of supplemental benefits, such as eye exams, dental and fitness benefits. Nearly all enrollees are in plans that require prior authorization for some services. Medicare Advantage cost sharing varies across plans and can be lower than traditional Medicare, but that is not always the case. Slightly more than half of all Medicare Advantage enrollees would incur higher costs than beneficiaries in traditional Medicare with no supplemental coverage for a 6-day hospital stay, though cost are generally lower in Medicare Advantage for shorter stays.

How Might Lowering the Medicare Age Affect Medicaid Enrollees?

This issue brief highlights key differences between Medicare and Medicaid and raises questions about how a policy to lower the age of Medicare eligibility could affect individuals who are currently enrolled in Medicaid.

FDA’s Approval of Biogen’s New Alzheimer’s Drug Has Huge Cost Implications for Medicare and Beneficiaries

The question of what would happen when a new, expensive prescription drug comes to market for a disease like Alzheimer’s that afflicts millions of people has loomed large in discussions over drug prices in the U.S. This brief analyzes the cost implications for Medicare and beneficiaries associated with Biogen’s new FDA-approved Alzheimer’s drug, which will cost $56,000 per year.

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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.