Today’s Hot Topics in Medicare News

‘I feel abandoned’: Medicare patient claims they were abruptly cut from mental health services

BY JAMIE PEREZ: A Medicare patient who wanted to remain anonymous for privacy concerns said she was abruptly cut off from mental health services she was seeking at Journey Mental Health Center. For purposes of this story, we will call her Cara. 

“If I don’t get the outpatient services to support me, I end up in a hospital,” Cara said. 

Cara deals with post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and anxiety. She said she had been a patient with the Journey Mental Health Center for the past five years, but last month was cut off from its services. (read more)

Consumer Reports investigation details Medicare cost confusion

BY WRAL: Prescription drug costs can be outrageous. The numbers are so startling that the Senate invited an investigator who works with Consumer Reports to testify on Capitol Hill.

“We found that what a consumer could pay for their medications could vary by hundreds of dollars,” said Consumer Reports Investigative Reporter Lisa Gill.

The variations exist even in the same city. (read more)

Social Security, Medicare Heading for Bankruptcy, but What Does that Mean for Benefits?

BY AMBER C. STRONG: It seems these days lawmakers are spoiling for a fight on just about every issue, but there’s one topic few want to even bring up: Entitlements — the political time bombs ticking louder as time goes on. 

According to the trustees, Social Security benefits will become insolvent – or “bankrupt” in common language – by 2035. Medicare runs out of cash much sooner – by 2026.

“Social Security entirely and Medicare to a smaller extent are affected by so-called Federal Trust Funds, so when those run out there is a shortfall in what they promised to pay in benefits versus what they are able to pay based on the revenues they’ve collected,” Romina Boccia, research fellow at the Heritage Foundation told CBN News.  (read more)

Study: Medicare may best Medicare Advantage at reducing readmissions

BY GREGORY TWACHTMAN: Although earlier research may suggest otherwise, traditional Medicare may actually do a better job of lowering the risk of hospital readmissions than Medicare Advantage, new research suggests.

Researchers used what they described as “a novel data linkage” comparing 30-day readmission rates after hospitalization for three major conditions in the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program for patients using traditional Medicare versus Medicare Advantage. Those conditions included acute MI, heart failure, and pneumonia. (read more)

Lawmakers map out path forward on Medicare Part D

BY JULIA MANCHESTER: Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.) and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) put forward their ideas for improving Medicare Part D during an event on Tuesday at a time when seniors are facing rising out-of-pocket costs and fewer options for affordable medications. 

“My fix is that you have to look at the whole thing, and this is a shared responsibility,” Matsui told moderator Steve Clemons at The Hill’s “Cost, Quality and Care: The Medicare Equation” event, sponsored by Astellas Pharma US. (read more)

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