Today’s Hot Topics in Medicare News

Medicare Prescription Drug Premium to Drop Slightly in 2020

BY DENA BUNIS: The average monthly premium for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans will decrease from $31.83 this year to $30 in 2020, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced late Tuesday. This is the third straight year that premiums will decline.

The actual amount beneficiaries will pay in 2020 will vary depending on which prescription drugs they take, what plan they select and where they live. How much participants will pay out of pocket for their drugs also depends on the deductibles and copays that different plans charge. (read more)

Medicare claims data will be available to clinicians under pilot program

BY DAVE NYCZEPIR: Clinicians will soon be able to directly access Medicare claims data in a new White House pilot program that builds on efforts to improve health care information sharing.

The Data at the Point of Care (DPC) pilot will leverage the Beneficiary Claims Data application programming interface (API) so clinicians avoid logging into an application or portal for the information. The API pulls in claims data from all of patients’ Medicare histories, including services outside of their core group of providers. (read more)

The Democratic Debate Over ‘Medicare For All’ And Middle-Class Taxes, Explained

BY DANIELLE KURTZLEBEN: At the Democratic debate tonight, one particular aspect of Bernie Sanders’ “Medicare for All” plan got special scrutiny.

After a back-and-forth over how to pay for the plan, CNN moderator Jake Tapper pointedly asked Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has sponsored Sanders’ plan: “Would you raise taxes on the middle class to pay for Medicare for All — offset, obviously, by the elimination of insurance premiums — yes or no?” (read more)

Support for Medicare for All dips, most people like their employer plans

BY TAMI LUHBY: Americans are eager to hear the Democratic presidential contenders talk about health care at his week’s debates on CNN, but they are more mixed in their support for the candidates’ proposals.

Support for “Medicare for All,” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ sweeping vision to remake the nation’s health insurance system, has slipped to 51%, down from 59% in March, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation poll, released Tuesday.
Building on the Affordable Care Act has more support than replacing it with a national Medicare for All plan, by a 55% to 39% split, the poll found. (read more)

What’s The Role of Private Health Insurance Today and Under Medicare-for-all and Other Public Option Proposals?

BY KAREN POLLITZ, TRICIA NEUMAN, JENNIFER TOLBERT, ROBIN RUDOWITZ, CYNTHIS COX, GARY CLAXTON, and LARRY LEVITT: The role of private health insurance under Medicare-for-all and other proposals has emerged as a prominent issue in the Democratic primary and an important issue for voters. Candidates are debating what role private insurance should have in the U.S. health care system and the implications of such a change for individuals across the country.

For more than two years KFF polling has found a majority of the public favoring a national Medicare-for-all plan with the most recent poll finding a slight dip in support with about half the public (51%) now saying they favor Medicare-for-all.  However, surveys also show most people do not have a clear understanding about the current Medicare-for-all proposals, and how they might change the nature of coverage people have today. For example, based on a poll fielded in early 2019, 55% of the public think that they and their families would be able to keep their current health insurance under Medicare-for-all; 54% think they would continue to pay health insurance premiums and 69% think they would continue to pay deductibles and copays for covered health services.  Public opinion is malleable in response to additional information and arguments about Medicare-for-all.  Support for Medicare-for-all increases to 67% when people hear it would eliminate insurance premiums and reduce out-of-pocket health costs, and increases to 71% when people hear it would guarantee health insurance as a right for all Americans, but drops to 37% when people hear Medicare-for-all would eliminate private health insurance. (read more)

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