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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Poll: Nearly 1 in 4 Americans Taking Prescription Drugs Say It’s Difficult to Afford Their Medicines, including Larger Shares Among Those with Health Issues, with Low Incomes and Nearing Medicare Age

Views of Medicare-for-All Hold Steady As the Trump Administration and Congress weigh policy options to address high prescription drug prices, a fourth of people taking prescription drugs (24%) and seniors taking drugs (23%) say it is difficult for them to afford their medications, the latest KFF Health Tracking Poll finds. The groups most likely…

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KFF Health Tracking Poll – February 2019: Prescription Drugs

With increased national attention towards prescription drug costs, this poll examines the public’s experiences with prescription medicine and their views on current policy proposals brought forth by congressional lawmakers and the Trump administration, including international reference pricing, transparency in drug advertisements, and negotiations with drug companies. The survey also dives into the attitudes and experiences of adults, 65 and older – a group that is more likely to report taking prescription medication and shopped for prescription drug coverage.

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Potential Changes to Medicaid Long-Term Care Spousal Impoverishment Rules: States’ Plans and Implications for Community Integration

To financially qualify for Medicaid long-term services and supports (LTSS), an individual must have a low income and limited assets. In response to concerns that these rules could leave a spouse without adequate means of support when a married individual needs LTSS, Congress created the spousal impoverishment rules in 1988. Originally, these rules required states to protect a portion of a married couple’s income and assets to provide for the “community spouse’s” living expenses when determining nursing home financial eligibility, but gave states the option to apply the rules to home and community-based services (HCBS) waivers.
Section 2404 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), changed the spousal impoverishment rules to treat Medicaid HCBS and institutional care equally from January 2014 through December 2018. Congress subsequently extended Section 2404 through March 2019. This issue brief answers key questions about the spousal impoverishment rules, presents 50-state data from a 2018 Kaiser Family Foundation survey about state policies and future plans in this area, and considers the implications if Congress does not further extend Section 2404.

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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 long-term 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.

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The Out-of-Pocket Cost Burden for Specialty Drugs in Medicare Part D in 2019

Medicare Part D has helped to make prescription drugs more affordable for people with Medicare, yet many beneficiaries continue to face high out-of-pocket costs for their medications. Specialty tier drugs are a particular concern for Part D enrollees in this context. This analysis draws on data from Medicare’s Plan Finder website to calculate expected annual 2019 out-of-pocket costs for 30 specialty tier drugs used to treat four health conditions—cancer, hepatitis C, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Medicare Part D Enrollees with Serious Health Conditions Can Face Thousands of Dollars in Out-of-Pocket Costs Annually for Specialty Drugs

Despite Medicare’s protections, Part D enrollees with serious health conditions can face thousands of dollars in annual out-of-pocket costs for expensive specialty drugs, a new KFF anaylsis finds. The analysis draws on data from Medicare’s Plan Finder website to calculate expected annual 2019 costs for more than two dozen specialty tier…

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Sources of Supplemental Coverage Among Medicare Beneficiaries in 2016

Today, 60 million people, including 51 million older adults and 9 million younger adults with disabilities, rely on Medicare for their health insurance coverage, but many Medicare beneficiaries rely on other sources of coverage to supplement their Medicare benefits. This data note explores sources of supplemental coverage among beneficiaries in traditional Medicare, based on data from the 2016 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey.

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The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation

Updated Brief and Interactive Map Examine Poverty Among Seniors in the U.S.

A new Kaiser Family Foundation brief and interactive map provide the latest national and state-level estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau of the share and number of people ages 65 and older who are living in poverty. The resources examine poverty among seniors under the official poverty threshold ($11,756 in…

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Comparing Poverty Rates under the Official Census Poverty Measure and the Supplemental Poverty Measure

This interactive graphic illustrates how poverty rates among seniors in each of the 50 states change under two different Census Bureau measures of poverty: the official poverty measure and an alternative supplemental poverty measure, which takes into account health care and housing costs among other factors.

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How Many Seniors Live in Poverty?

This issue brief presents estimates of poverty under the Census Bureau’s official poverty measure and the Supplemental Poverty Measure for adults ages 65 and older, based on data for 2017 and three-year averages (2015 to 2017). Unlike the official poverty measure, the SPM poverty thresholds vary by geographic area and homeownership status, and the SPM reflects financial resources and liabilities, including taxes, the value of in-kind benefits (e.g., food stamps), and out-of-pocket medical spending. Estimates of poverty based on the SPM indicate that the number and share of older adults who are struggling financially are larger than when based on the official poverty measure.

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