KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Out-Of-Pocket Costs Rising Significantly For Medicare Beneficiaries: Report

The analysis by the Kaiser Family Foundation examines seniors' costs from 2000 to 2010. Also, another story focuses on a new Medicare effort to find ways to exempt beneficiaries from the requirement that they be in the hospital for three days before they qualify for nursing home coverage.

Politico Pro: Kaiser Study Finds Rising Out-Of-Pocket Medicare Costs
People on Medicare have seen their out-of-pocket costs rise significantly since 2000, and the increase is especially acute for those who are older, female, have chronic conditions or frequently stay in the hospital. A new analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation uses Medicare survey information from 2000 to 2010 to provide a detailed look at how much beneficiaries spend for their health care, who pays the most and which types of services account for the most out-of-pocket spending. The analysis looks at the three main ways seniors and others on Medicare pay for their health care: monthly premiums, cost sharing for Medicare-covered benefits and costs for services not covered by the program. The typical person paid an average of $4,734 each year for their care, 44 percent more than in 2000 (Cunningham, 7/21).

Kaiser Health News: Medicare Testing Payment Options That Could End Observation Care Penalties
Medicare officials have allowed patients at dozens of hospitals participating in pilot projects across the country to be exempted from the controversial requirement that limits nursing home coverage to seniors admitted to a hospital for at least three days. The idea behind these experiments is to find out whether new payment arrangements with the hospitals and other health care providers that drop the three-day rule can reduce costs or keep them the same while improving the quality of care. They are conducted under a provision of the Affordable Care Act that created the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovations to develop ways of improving Medicare (Jaffe, 7/22).

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