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Key State Policy Choices About Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services

State policy choices about Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS) shape these benefits in important ways for the seniors and people with disabilities who rely on them to live independently in the community. This issue brief presents the latest data from the KFF’s annual survey of Medicaid HCBS program policies in all 50 states and DC.

Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Enrollment and Spending

Medicaid continues to be the primary payer for home and community-based services (HCBS) that help seniors and  people with cognitive, physical, and mental health disabilities and chronic illnesses with self-care and household activities. This issue brief presents Medicaid HCBS enrollment and spending data from KFF’s annual state survey and includes tables with detailed state-level data.

Medicare Part D Spending on Insulin Increased 840 Percent Between 2007 and 2017

Medicare Part D spending on insulin increased 840 percent between 2007 and 2017, far outpacing growth in the number of beneficiaries using insulin therapy, according to a new KFF analysis. The findings come at a time when the cost of prescription drugs is a major focus for policymakers in Washington,…

How Much Does Medicare Spend on Insulin?

The price of insulin, used by people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes to control blood glucose levels, has come under increasing scrutiny as policymakers grapple with rising drug costs. This data note finds spending on insulin by Medicare and beneficiaries enrolled in private Part D drug plans has increased sharply between 2007 and 2017.

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…

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.

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.

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.

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.