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Monthly Archives: March 2018

Medicaid Work Requirements Would Impact Older Adults

The Commonwealth Fund recently released a report analyzing different proposals by states to impose a work requirement for Medicaid benefits and how those proposals would impact older adults and people with disabilities. To date, 12 states have proposed conducting demonstrations that add work requirements to Medicaid, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has so far approved proposals from Kentucky, Indiana, and Arkansas. Among other policy changes, these demonstrations would tie Medicaid benefits to a minimum work requirement.

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Providers Are Key to Controlling Unnecessary Health Care Spending

Health care in the United States is very expensive, and many experts believe one thing contributing to that expense is the abundance of unnecessary or “low-value” health care services provided to patients. Policymakers typically believe that patients receive this unnecessary care because they expect or demand it. However, this month, the University of Michigan revealed new polling data that turns that assumption upside down.

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People with Medicare Burdened with Higher Health Care Spending

The Kaiser Family Foundation recently released a report with new data on how much people with Medicare paid for health care in 2016 as a share of their total spending. These data show that Medicare households spend a higher proportion of their incomes on health care coverage, services, and drugs than non-Medicare households. This is important information when discussing what policies should be enacted to protect or improve Medicare’s affordability, especially for those with tight household budgets and fixed incomes.

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Medicare Rights Report Shows Enrollment, Coverage, and Affordability Issues Continue to be Challenges for People with Medicare

The report, Medicare Trends and Recommendations: An Analysis of 2016 Call Data from the Medicare Rights Center’s National Helpline, re-examines the top three issues heard on Medicare Rights’ helpline in prior years. Each issue is demonstrated through clients’ stories heard on the helpline, which the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), state agencies, insurers, elected officials, and other stakeholders can use as a basis to strengthen the Medicare program for the more than 58 million people it serves.

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New Medicare Rights Analysis: What the Recent Budget Deal Means for People with Medicare

Congress recently passed and the President signed a sweeping spending bill that funds the government through March 23 and paves the way for a longer-term spending agreement. The legislation—the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123, BBA of 2018)—also contains a number of health care provisions important to people with Medicare and their families.

The Medicare Rights Center has analyzed the bill, with a focus on changes to Medicare and other programs serving older adults and people with disabilities that we support, those we oppose, and those we will be monitoring closely.

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CMS Proposes Additional Medicare Advantage Flexibilities in 2019 Call Letter

This week, the Medicare Rights Center submitted comments in response to the Advance Notice of Methodological Changes for Calendar Year 2019 for the Medicare Advantage CMS-HCC Risk Adjustment Model and Call Letter (Call Letter). The Call Letter outlines CMS’s payment and policy strategies for upcoming plan years. As in years past, Medicare Rights provided comprehensive comments and feedback, highlighting the concerns and issues beneficiaries tell us about on the helpline every day.

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Medicare Rights Center Asks Congress to Prioritize People with Medicare in Upcoming Legislation

Last month, Congress passed sweeping legislation that funds the federal government for six weeks and paves the way for a longer-term spending agreement. While the bill also makes significant changes to Medicare and other health care programs, both good and bad, it excludes several important reforms the Medicare Rights Center supports. Today, we asked Congress to include these policies in essential spending legislation they are expected to consider later this month.

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The Numbers Are In: Undermining the ACA Will Hurt Health Coverage and Increase Costs

Last week, Medicare Rights explored some of the looming risks to health coverage and affordability created by recent administrative efforts to undercut the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As we noted then, the Trump administration has proposed several new rules that would allow insurers to offer coverage that does not meet the standards set by the ACA. In addition, Congress has taken steps to undermine the ACA’s coverage by repealing the individual mandate in last year’s tax bill, despite evidence that doing so would cause millions to lose coverage. Together, these changes threaten to undermine the design and achievements of the ACA. Now the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan research organization, and Avalere, a nonpartisan health consulting firm, have released studies that add concrete numbers to these risks.

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