The Next 50 Years for Medicare and Medicaid

The 50th anniversary this week of the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid comes in the middle of a presidential campaign in which candidates have raised questions about the fiscal viability of the programs.

Will Medicare and Medicaid be sustainable for another 50 years?

Read this New York Times discussion.

By |July 31st, 2015|Medicare/Medicaid|Comments Off

ACA Marketplace Plans Drive Access Concerns

Concern over access to providers among enrollees in high-deductible health plans sold in the new government-run marketplaces is hurting the plans’ popularity, according to new survey data.

The annual online survey by EBRI/Greenwald & Associates examined insurance-related satisfaction among three groups: enrollees in consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) with a deductible of at least $1,250 for individual coverage or $2,500 for family coverage and access to a health savings account or similar savings vehicle; enrollees in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) with no savings account; and so-called traditional-plan members with lower deductibles.

Satisfaction levels related to getting doctor appointments were relatively high compared with other components examined in the annual survey. But among HDHP enrollees—one-fifth of whom obtained coverage through Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplaces—satisfaction with the ease of getting a doctor appointment fell from 63 percent in 2013 to 54 percent in 2014.

“This may have been related to the increasing number of narrow-network plans on public exchanges,” the survey’s authors wrote in an analysis.

Satisfaction rates were largely flat among traditional-plan enrollees, of whom only 8 percent had ACA coverage, and were trending upward among CDHP enrollees, of whom 7 percent had ACA plans.

Similarly, the percentage of enrollees who were extremely or very satisfied […]

By |July 31st, 2015|Health Reform|Comments Off

Medicare Mortality, Hospitalizations, Spending Decline, Study Says

Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries had “amazing” reductions in their rates of hospitalizations, and per-beneficiary spending over the last 15 years, new research found. And those improvements occurred as mortality declined among all of the program’s enrollees.

From 1999 to 2013, all-cause mortality for all Medicare beneficiaries declined from 5.30 percent to 4.45 percent; fee-for-service beneficiary hospitalizations per 100,000 person-years decreased from 35,274 to 26,930; and mean inflation-adjusted inpatient expenditures per Medicare fee-for-service beneficiary declined from $3,290 to $2,801. The research was published online July 29 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“It was amazing improvement,” said Harlan M. Krumholz, MD, a professor in the Yale University School of Medicine and an author of the study. “And we saw no evidence of it leveling out toward the end; it was continuing to improve in the same way.”

As the Medicare population grew from 33.5 million in 1999 to 42.4 million in 2013, the share of FFS enrollees dropped from 82 percent in 1999 to 71 percent in 2013.
Hospitalization Decline
Among the hospitalization findings were decreases in the number of beneficiaries admitted to the hospital at least once from 21,782 per 100,000 person-years to 17,344. Additionally, there was a decline in the number of […]

By |July 30th, 2015|Medicare/Medicaid|Comments Off


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