Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Medicare' Category

Impact of Medicare Advantage on Hospital Admissions

Do patients who enroll in Medicare Advantage go to the hospital less frequently? The answer is yes. However, this fact may not be causal. Patients who enroll in Medicare Advantage are generally younger and healthier than patients who enroll in Medicare’s fee-for-service (FFS) program. A paper by Duggan, Gruber and Vabson (2016) uses a novel […]

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Part B drug reimbursement

In the past Medicare has reimbursed physicians that administer Part B drugs–typically injectable medications administered in a physician’s office–at 6% of the drug’s cost.  The 6% aims to cover the cost of purchasing and storing the drug as well as administering it.  Because physician reimbursement is proportional to the cost of the drug, physicians have […]

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Managing post-acute care cost

Medicare’s move towards bundling payment for acute and post-acute care means that hospitals have an incentive to carefully monitor care received after discharge.  But what are the key drivers of post-acute care cost: hospital readmissions? use of any post-acute care? type of post-acute care used? A paper by Huckfeldt et al. (2016) examines Medicare claims data […]

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Health care spending a key driver of future budget deficets

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its 2016 10-year budget projections last month and the numbers do not look good.  CBO estimates that the 2016 federal budget deficit will be more than half a trillion dollars ($544 billion), which will cause the total level of federal government debt to increase to 76% of GDP. How […]

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Did Medicare Part D reduce emergency room visits?

In 2006, the Medicare program was expanded to include prescription drug coverage through the Part D program. Previous studies have found that Medicare Part D improved prescription drug coverage rates among seniors (Levy and Weir,2010), increased medication utilization (Duggan and Morton, 2010), decreased out-of-pocket spending (Engelhardt and Gruber, 2011; Ketcham and Simon, 2008), and reduced medication […]

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Changes in the MSSP program

Medicare’s ACO program–the Medicare Shared Savings Plan (MSSP)–has recently been revised.  AJMC reports that Patrick Conway, MD, MSc, deputy administrator for innovation and quality and chief medical officer at CMS, describes the proposed changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program and how they will assist accountable care organizations transitioning to tracks with more risks.

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Medicare in the data analysis business?

From a recent N.Y. Times article on Vice President Joe Biden’s cancer “moonshoot”: The researchers pointed out that although genome sequencing seems to be rapidly transforming cancer research, a tiny fraction of cancer patients are having their tumors sequenced because most insurers, including Medicare, will not pay for the procedure. For a start, the group told […]

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2016 ASSA: Effect of guaranteed issue and community rating on health insurance premiums

How should insurance be regulated? Should insurance plans be able to price premiums based on health conditions? The drawbacks of this approach is that it is not equitable as sicker patients will pay higher premiums. Should all people pay the same cost? Although more equitable, using a single price would incentivize healthy people to avoid […]

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2016 ASSA: How does consumer inattention affect pricing?

Why do Medicare patients choose to stay in their current Part D prescription drug plan or switch to another? Are they rational actors maximizing their their financial benefit or do other factors play a role. A paper by Kate Ho and co-authors (NBER WP version) presented at the 2016 ASSA meetings find the switch rates […]

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Reforming Medicare Provider Payment

With the ACA and now MARCA, Congress is moving full steam ahead with payment reform. An article by Paul Ginsburg and Gail Wilensky (2015) consider some of the implications of these reform efforts. This belief – that a set of metrics can be developed or delivery systems specified that could lead to the delivery of […]

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