Publications: Medicare

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The Continuing Cost of Privatization: Extra Payments to Medicare Advantage Plans Jump to $11.4 Billion in 2009

May 4, 2009 - The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 explicitly increased Medicare payments to private Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. As a result, MA plans have, for the past six years, been paid more for their enrollees than they would be expected to cost in traditional fee-for-service Medicare.

Issue Brief

Health Care Opinion Leaders Views on Slowing the Growth of Health Care Costs

April 27, 2009 - Nearly all respondents to the latest Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey agree that the U.S. must rein in the growth of health care spending, and most believe it is possible to hold the current percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) devoted to health care steady over the next decade. In addition, large majorities expressed support for a range of strategies to reduce costs, including many of those outlined in President Obama’s budget blueprint.

Data Brief

Uniquely American Solution: Collaboration, Leadership Required to Bring Change

April 27, 2009 - In this commentary on the Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey on slowing health care cost growth, Karen Ignagni says that identifying small reductions across all sectors will provide significant relief to individuals and businesses purchasing coverage, improve the solvency of the Medicare trust fund, and free up resources to finance reform, including coverage for all Americans.

Commentary

Rehospitalizations Among Patients in the Medicare Fee-for-Service Program

April 2, 2009 - One of five Medicare beneficiares discharged from the hospital was readmitted within 30 days, and half of patients admitted for reasons other than surgery were readmitted without having seen a doctor in follow-up, according to a Commonwealth Fund-supported study.

In the Literature

Special Needs Plans and the Coordination of Benefits and Services for Dual Eligibles

February 17, 2009 - Special Needs Plans (SNPs) are intended to improve care coordination, improve quality of care, and reduce the costs for treating high-risk, high-cost Medicare beneficiaries, including those who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Many SNPs, however, do not coordinate their benefits with state Medicaid programs.

In the Literature

Using Medicare Payment Policy to Transform the Health System: A Framework for Improving Performance

January 27, 2009 - By using payment incentives, Medicare, the nation's largest health care payer, could lead the United States to higher health system performance and yield great benefits, say Fund staff and colleagues in this Health Affairs article.

In the Literature

Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Treatment of Dementia Among Medicare Beneficiaries

November 24, 2008 - This study, which reviewed data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey from 2001 through 2003, of 1,120 community-dwelling Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with dementia found that use of anti-dementia medications was approximately 30 percent higher among non-Hispanic whites compared with other racial and ethnic groups.

In the Literature

Medicare's National Coverage Decisions for Technologies, 1999-2007

November 10, 2008 - A multiyear analysis of Medicare's "national coverage decisions"--policies for reimbursing health care providers for particular medical services--shows that the program considers the available evidence "fair" or "poor" for most medical technologies it reviews.

In the Literature

Improving Medicare's Value

November 3, 2008 - In this commentary on the Modern Healthcare/Commonwealth Fund survey of health care opinion leaders, J. James Rohack discuss Medicare payment reform from the physician's perspective.

Commentary

Achieving Payment Reform in Medicare

November 3, 2008 - In a new commentary on The Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Opinion Leaders Survey, Glenn Hackbarth outlines steps for implementing payment reform in Medicare.

Commentary

Health Care Opinion Leaders' Views on Payment System Reform

November 3, 2008 - Leaders in health care and health care policy expressed robust support for fundamentally reforming the way health care providers are paid and resounding dissatisfaction with the current payment system, known as "fee-for-service."

Data Brief

Medicare Advantage's Private Fee-for-Service Plans: Paying for Coordinated Care Without the Coordination

October 21, 2008 - Payments to Medicare's private fee-for-service (FFFS) plans in 2008 average 16.6 percent more than costs in traditional Medicare, or $1,248 for each of the 2 million enrollees in PFFS plans--a total of nearly $2.5 billion in extra payments.

Issue Brief

Retiree Health Benefits After Medicare Part D: A Snapshot of Prescription Drug Coverage

September 16, 2008 - Based on employers' responses to two national surveys, conducted in late 2005 and early 2007, fears that the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit would "crowd out" existing retiree health benefits have not been realized. This issue brief finds most employers indicate that they will reconsider their current decision if the cost of coverage rises sharply or the Medicare Part D coverage becomes more comprehensive.

Issue Brief

The Continuing Cost of Privatization: Extra Payments to Medicare Advantage

September 5, 2008 - Private health plans serving Medicare beneficiaries 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 study from The Commonwealth Fund.

Issue Brief

Why Did Medicare Spending Growth Slow Down?

August 18, 2008 - Key changes in Medicare payment policy--not increases in Medicare managed care, changes in beneficiary cost-sharing, or other explanations--have been responsible for slowing Medicare spending growth and curtailing so-called excess spending growth, finds a study in Health Affairs.

In the Literature