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Public Policy: Medicare
8/16/2016

Medicare Part D is a voluntary prescription drug benefit for Medicare beneficiaries that was established in 2003 under the Medicare Modernization Act. Prior to this law, Medicare did not offer a prescription drug benefit. In 2015, over 39 million Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in a Part D plan.

8/15/2016

The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has endorsed the Medicare Drug Savings Act (S. 1083, H.R. 2005), introduced by Senator Bill Nelson (FL) and Representative Kathy Castor (FL). This legislation would require drug manufacturers to pay rebates for the drugs used by individuals who are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid and for people receiving the Medicare Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS). 
7/7/2016

Medicare beneficiaries are being denied access to Medicare’s skilled nursing facility (SNF) benefit because acute care hospitals are increasingly classifying their patients as outpatients receiving observation services, rather than admitting them as inpatients. Patients are called outpatients despite the fact that they may stay for many days and nights in hospital beds and receive medical and nursing care, diagnostic tests, treatments, medications, and food, just as they would if they were inpatients. Under the Medicare statute, however, patients must have an inpatient hospital stay of three or more consecutive days, not counting the day of discharge, in order to meet Medicare criteria for coverage of post-acute care in a SNF. As a result, although the care received by patients in observation status is the same as the care received by inpatients, outpatients who need follow-up care in a SNF do not qualify for Medicare coverage. Hospital stays classified as observation, regardless of their length and the type or number of services provided, are considered outpatient. These hospital stays do not currently qualify patients for Medicare-covered care in a SNF; only inpatient time counts.

6/28/2016

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) includes important improvements to Medicare prescription drug coverage (Part D) such as reducing expenses for seniors in the donut hole now and eliminating the gap altogether by 2020. Seniors receive additional savings each year on their prescription drugs until the donut hole is closed. The ACA also provides additional assistance for low-income beneficiaries. Since passage of the ACA in 2010, more than 9.4 million people with Medicare have saved over $15 billion on prescription drugs.  

6/27/2016

The 2016 Medicare Trustees Report shows that Medicare solvency remains greatly improved since the enactment of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with the Hospital Trust Fund paying full benefits until 2028 and the increase in per enrollee spending continuing to be lower than the growth in overall per capita national health expenditures.

6/20/2016

Nearly 51 years ago Medicare - one of our nation's most popular and successful programs - was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.  Since then, Medicare has helped lift generations of Americans out of poverty.  Before the enactment of Medicare in 1965, only 50 percent of seniors had health insurance and 35 percent lived in poverty. 

5/18/2016

4/15/2016

Established under the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, the Medicare prescription drug benefit — also known as Medicare Part D — is voluntary insurance that Medicare beneficiaries can purchase to help cover the costs of their prescription drugs.  In 2015, about 72 percent (over 39 million) of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a Part D plan.

4/11/2016

The Social Security Administration (SSA) advises Americans to keep their Social Security card in a safe place.  At the same time, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) tells their beneficiaries to carry their Medicare card – which includes their Social Security number – with them at all times.  What is a Medicare beneficiary to do?  And what should the government do about this conflict?
4/3/2016

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), signed into law on March 23, 2010, aims to provide greater access to health care coverage, improve the quality of services delivered and reduce the rate of increase in health spending. The ACA provides new ways to help hospitals, doctors and other health care providers coordinate care for beneficiaries so that health care quality is improved and unnecessary spending reduced. Improvements made in the ACA to Medicare preventive services and prescription drug coverage have lowered the out-of-pocket costs of millions of seniors. Below are some of the ways that the Affordable Care Act is helping seniors.
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