Medicare at 50: Options for Modernizing Benefits and Limiting Costs for Low-Income Beneficiaries

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<p>Over the past five decades, Medicare has been meeting its goals of enhancing access to health care and providing financial protection against high health costs. But the traditional program’s benefit design doesn’t limit out-of-pocket costs, and the financial protection provided to low-income beneficiaries falls short of what the Affordable Care Act offers to the under-65 population.</p><p>The next issue brief in our <em>Medicare at 50 Years</em> series focuses on policy options that in combination would modernize Medicare’s benefits, improve health care access and affordability, and greatly simplify the program’s patchwork quilt of coverage. Authors Cathy Schoen, Karen Davis, Christine Buttorff, and Martin Andersen outline a new Medicare-sponsored plan choice that, for an extra premium, would provide an integrated design offering prescription coverage, affordable cost-sharing, and a limit on out-of-pocket costs. They also present an option to expand premium subsidies and reduce cost-sharing for low-income beneficiaries.</p> Read more