KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Rule Changes For Medigap Supplemental Plans Leaves New Beneficiaries With Tough Choices

Medigap Plans F and C, which are quite popular among Medicare beneficiaries, will close to new enrollment in 2020. In other Medicare news, federal officials have proposed some changes in home health payment policies, and public health officials ponder a rise in sepsis cases among beneficiaries.

Chicago Tribune: Why Seniors Should Choose Wisely When Selecting Medigap Supplement Insurance
In 2020, people who are on Medicare and don't already have what's known as Plan F or Plan C Medigap insurance won't be able to buy it because the federal government will close those plans to new participants. That means that when people go onto Medicare at 65, or if they switch Medicare-related insurance during the next couple of years, they are going to have to be diligent about scrutinizing insurance possibilities before some of those doors start to close. (MarksJarvis, 9/8)

Modern Healthcare: CMS' Proposed Home Health Payment Model Alarms Providers. Would It Boost Access For Medically Complex Patients?
The CMS has proposed the largest overhaul of Medicare home health payment in many years, out of concern that the current reimbursement system discourages providers from serving patients with clinically complex or chronic conditions. Critics say Medicare's system now gives home health providers incentives to select patients who need higher-paying therapy services, such as joint replacement, rather than those needing help with traumatic wounds or poorly controlled chronic conditions or who are dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. (Meyer, 9/8)

Modern Healthcare: Aggressive Diagnoses And Care Spark Big Rise In Medicare Sepsis Discharges
The number of Medicare inpatient discharges for sepsis has been on a steady rise, and in 2015 it beat out major joint replacements as the most common discharge for the first time. On first glance, the results are jarring considering how the federal government and providers have made concentrated efforts in recent years to curb sepsis. But patient safety experts claim that the rise likely stems from changes in clinical practice over the last 15 years to diagnosis more patients with infections as septic sooner so they can treat the infection quickly before it develops into severe sepsis and becomes life-threatening. (Castellucci, 9/7)

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