Medicare Current Events

Medicare Current Events, Medicare News Articles.
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Extra payments to Medicare Advantage plans totaled $5.2 billion over fee-for-service costs in 2005
Private Medicare Advantage plans were paid an average 12.4 percent more per enrollee in 2005 compared with what the same enrollees would have cost in the traditional Medicare fee-for-service program, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund. (2006-11-30)

Physicians are more likely to use hospice and intensive care at end of life
New research suggests that US physicians are more likely to use hospice and intensive or critical care units in the last months of life than non-physicians. Hospitalization rates were similar. (2016-05-16)

Extra payments to Medicare Advantage plans to total $8.5 billion in 2008
Private Medicare Advantage plans will be paid an average 12.4 percent more per enrollee in 2008 compared to what the same enrollee would have cost in the traditional Medicare fee-for-service program, according to a new report from the Commonwealth Fund. (2008-09-05)

Study examines home health care in medicare beneficiaries
According to an analysis published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, Medicare beneficiaries receiving home health services who are dually enrolled in Medicaid, live in a low-income neighborhood, or are Black tend to receive care from lower-quality home health agencies and have higher rates of hospital admissions and visits to the emergency department than other Medicare beneficiaries. (2017-10-04)

People who qualify for Medicare due to disability account for most opioid-related deaths
New findings from The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston found that Medicare beneficiaries who qualify because of a disability are a growing group of patients hospitalized for opioid or heroin overdose and account for 25 percent of deaths from prescription opioid overdose each year. Previous research shows that not many of these patients make use of opioid treatment programs. (2019-11-26)

Extra Medicare payments for private health plans to total $2.75 billion in 2004
In 2004 Medicare private plans in the country will be paid 8.4% more per enrollee on average than fee-for-service costs, according to a new report from The Commonwealth Fund. These extra payments to Medicare Advantage plans--formerly called Medicare Plus Choice--average $552 per plan enrollee, or a total of $2.75 billion overall. (2004-05-20)

Poor understanding of medicare leads to worse healthcare access
A study appearing in Journal of the American Geriatrics Society shows that Medicare beneficiaries' understanding of their healthcare benefits may affect their ability to access needed care effectively and could lead them to the delay or avoid seeking care. (2008-11-18)

CMS approves home sleep testing for diagnosis of OSA; AASM experts available for comment
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today released a new policy that expands continuous positive airway pressure therapy for Medicare patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Now Medicare beneficiaries will be able to undergo diagnosis for OSA using a home sleep test. (2008-03-13)

Survey: Medicare gets higher marks from enrollees than private insurance
Commonwealth Fund survey finds that Medicare beneficiaries are more likely than enrollees in employer sponsored plans to rate their insurance coverage as excellent and less likely to report access problems. Based on those findings, the authors conclude that Medicare reformers should be cautious when they seek to make the program work more like private insurance. (2002-10-09)

Extra payments to Medicare Advantage plans to total $11.4 billion in 2009
Private Medicare Advantage plans will be paid $11.4 billion more in 2009 than what the same beneficiaries would have cost in the traditional Medicare fee-for-service program, according to a new report released today by the Commonwealth Fund. This new analysis, (2009-05-04)

Study examines use of telemedicine among rural medicare beneficiaries
Although the number of Medicare telemedicine visits increased more than 25 percent a year for the past decade, in 2013, less than 1 percent of rural Medicare beneficiaries received a telemedicine visit, according to a study appearing in the May 10, 2016 issue of JAMA. (2016-05-10)

Rates of cardiovascular procedures differ for medicare beneficiaries
Rates of angiography and percutaneous coronary interventions were significantly lower among Medicare Advantage beneficiaries when compared to those covered by Medicare fee-for-service, according to a study by a University of Colorado School of Medicine physician published in the July 10 issue of JAMA. (2013-07-10)

Medicare elimination of essential drugs will affect elderly
On Jan. 1, 2006, several categories of medications will be explicitly excluded from Medicare's new prescription drug benefit, including benzodiazepines, which are listed as an (2005-10-14)

Study answers Medicare concerns about paying for CT colonography
A new study of 1,400 Medicare-aged patients reinforces CT colonography as a screening tool for colon cancer, adding to the continued debate over Medicare coverage of the procedure. (2012-07-01)

NHS makes bad use of hospital beds
The NHS uses up to three and a half times the number of hospital bed days for conditions such as stroke and hip fracture as health organisations in the United States, according to researchers in this week's BMJ. (2003-11-27)

Medicare HMOs fail to control costs of colon surgery in elderly patients
The costs of caring for elderly Florida patients hospitalized for colon surgery are not reduced by Medicare HMOs, a study by University of South Florida researchers reports. (2004-12-20)

Study: Medicare policy may account for growing length of hospice stays in nursing homes
Hospice care, certified and reimbursed by Medicare, offers specialized end-of-life care in the nursing-home setting. A new study finds that the average length of hospice stays is growing and has doubled in 10 years. A reimbursement policy based on when more hospice care occurs -- usually at the beginning and end of a hospice stay -- could result in more efficient payment for hospice care than the same daily rate regardless of length of stay. (2010-07-09)

Is guideline-recommended therapy for coronary artery disease more likely in Medicare Advantage?
Medicare Advantage is Medicare's managed-care alternative to traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Private insurance plans in Medicare Advantage have financial incentives to follow evidence-based guidelines but whether this results in better care for a long-term condition such as coronary artery disease isn't clear. This observational study included about 36,000 patients enrolled in Medicare Advantage and 173,000 enrolled in traditional fee-for-service Medicare who were diagnosed with coronary artery disease. (2019-02-20)

Medicare+Choice enrollees face continued cost increases in 2003, costs have doubled since 1999
Providing evidence of eroding benefits in the Medicare+Choice managed care program, a new Commonwealth Fund report finds enrollees' average annual plan premiums and other out-of-pocket costs rose ten percent in 2003 to $1,964, more than double what they were in 1999. Furthermore, out-of-pocket spending in Medicare PPO (preferred provider organization) demonstration plans is nearly 50 percent higher, on average, than costs for Medicare+Choice enrollees, and also higher than average costs to beneficiaries in traditional Medicare. (2003-08-11)

New Medicare primary care improvement results: U-M expert available to comment
This week, new results emerged from the federal government's largest-ever effort to improve primary care for people who rely on Medicare - the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative. A primary care physician who has studied Medicare authored the editorial in NEJM addressing the implications of the new results. (2016-04-13)

Regional variation in health-care spending and utilization higher in Medicare than private sector
Researchers investigated whether geographic variations in utilization of health services and spending differed between Medicare and the private sector. (2010-07-22)

Coping with multiple chronic conditions
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researcher Gerard Anderson identifies three steps to further transform Medicare towards better care for beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions in an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Eighty-three percent of Medicare beneficiaries have at least one chronic condition, such as congestive heart failure, Alzheimer's disease or diabetes. Two-thirds of Medicare spending is incurred by the 9.5 million beneficiaries with five or more chronic conditions. (2005-07-20)

Commentary: Modifications to Medicare rules could support care innovation for dialysis
Public health researchers suggest adjustments to recently proposed rule changes on how Medicare pays for dialysis services. (2019-04-19)

Timing of Medicare loss may affect long-term success of kidney transplantation
Kidney transplant recipients under 65 years of age qualify for Medicare coverage following transplantation, but coverage ends after three years. A new American Journal of Transplantation study found that failure of the transplanted kidney was 990 percent to 1,630 percent higher for recipients who lost Medicare coverage before this three-year time point compared with recipients who lost Medicare on time. (2019-03-06)

Positive outcome of Medicare drug benefit
An editorial by Richard Platt, professor and chair of the Department of Ambulatory Care and Prevention (of Harvard Medical School and Harvard Pilgrim Health Care), says that an unintended effect of the Medicare Drug Benefit could be the creation of the world's most valuable resource for understanding how drugs are used, as well as their risks and benefits, especially among the elderly and chronically ill. (2005-12-28)

Inequitable medicare reimbursements threaten care of most vulnerable
Hospitals, doctors and Medicare Advantage insurance plans that care for some of the most vulnerable patients are not reimbursed fairly by Medicare, according to recent findings in JAMA. (2020-02-07)

Medicare ACOs have achieved savings in providing care to patients with multiple conditions
There are now over 700 Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) in place across the country, making them one of the largest health care payment and delivery reforms underway in the United States. Until recently, little has been known about the effect of Medicare ACOs on overall spending. A new study by Dartmouth Institute researchers found that Medicare ACOs are making modest, yet increasing, gains in these areas, particularly when it comes to treating patients with multiple conditions. (2016-06-21)

BU finds Medicare Advantage networks are broad and getting broader
A new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers finds that networks in Medicare Advantage -- a private plan alternative to traditional Medicare -- are relatively broad and may be getting broader. (2019-04-01)

Study: Cheaper private health care prices mean more medicare spending
New evidence shows that doctors may be shifting health care services to Medicare when they stand to make money by doing so, though further study is required. (2014-12-01)

Medicare waiting period leaves over 1.2 million seriously disabled without secure health insurance
Over 1.2 million seriously disabled Americans under age 65--including as many as 400,000 without health insurance--are currently in the two-year waiting period for Medicare coverage, according to a new report from The Commonwealth Fund. Eliminating this two-year waiting period would provide stable health insurance to a vulnerable group of adults who are unable to work, and could save cash-strapped states an estimated $1.8 billion a year in Medicaid costs. (2003-07-16)

New strategies in fight against medicare and medicaid fraud could benefit your health
University of Cincinnati research shows advances in data analysis technology are proving to be effective weapons for controlling the billions of dollars lost to Medicare and Medicaid fraud. (2014-02-17)

Elder law expert: Ryan plan would fundamentally change Medicare
Law professor Richard L. Kaplan says House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's proposal to change Medicare for those under age 55 is nothing short of a complete reconceptualization of the popular health insurance program. (2011-04-07)

Bariatric surgery appears to be safe for carefully selected older, Medicare patients
Complications after bariatric surgery appear similar between patients younger and older than age 60 and also between Medicare recipients and nonrecipients, according to a study in the June issue of Archives of Surgery, one of the JAMA/Archives journals. (2007-06-18)

Cigarette smoking cost Medicare program $20.5 billion in 1997, according to UCSF researchers
A study by UC San Francisco researchers reports the total costs of cigarette smoking to the Medicare program amounted to $20.5 billion in 1997. (1999-09-30)

Medicare Part D favors generic prescription drugs over branded counterparts, study finds
Published this week in Health Affairs, the study led by Stacie Dusetzina, PhD, Ingram Associate Professor of Cancer Research and associate professor of Health Policy, compared Medicare Part D coverage of more than 1,360 pairs of generic and brand-name drugs. The analysis found 0.9% of plans covered only the brand name drug in 2019, compared to about 84% of plans covering only the generic drug. Roughly 15% of plans covered both the generic and brand-name version. (2020-08-05)

Study: Medicare could overpay medicare advantage plans by $200 billion over ten years
Research conducted at University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that current trends in diagnostic coding for patient risk scores will lead to Medicare overpaying Medicare Advantage (MA) plans substantially through 2026-likely to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. (2017-02-06)

Primary care clinicians drove increasing use of Medicare's chronic care management codes
To address the problem of care fragmentation for Medicare recipients with multiple chronic conditions, Medicare introduced Chronic Care Management (CCM) in 2015 to reimburse clinicians for care management and coordination. The study showed that CCM use increased over this four-year period, driven largely by primary care physicians. (2020-09-15)

Retirement expert: Medicare already means-tested
The Obama administration's controversial proposal to means-test Medicare recipients has one small problem -- the Medicare program is already means-tested, says law professor Richard L. Kaplan, a University of Illinois expert on retirement benefits. (2013-04-29)

Significant racial disparities persist in hospital readmissions
A new study in the journal Health Affairs shows that, despite being designed to more effectively manage care and control costs, black patients enrolled with Medicare Advantage are far more likely to be readmitted to the hospital after a surgery than those enrolled on traditional Medicare. Furthermore, significant disparities continue to exist in readmission rate between black and white Medicare patients. (2017-06-26)

Disabled patients who can't afford their meds come to the ER more
Disabled Medicare patients under the age of 65 who don't take their prescription medications because of cost concerns are more likely to have at least one emergency department visit during a one-year period. The results of a new study are published online today in Annals of Emergency Medicine. (2013-05-28)

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