KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Where Seniors Live Affects Their Health Care And The Medications They Get

The Associated Press examines how geography can make a key difference in the treatments that Medicare beneficiaries receive. Other outlets look at the annual open enrollment period for Medicare prescription drug plans. USA Today reports that thousands who rely on nursing home trust funds have had their savings mismanaged or stolen.

The Associated Press: Study: Where Seniors Live Affects What Medications Prescribed, Whether They're The Best Kind
Where seniors live makes a difference not only in how much health care they receive but also the medications they're prescribed — as some miss out on key treatments while others get risky ones, new research shows. More than 1 in 4 patients on Medicare's prescription drug plan filled at least one prescription for medications long deemed high-risk for seniors, according to the study released Tuesday by the Dartmouth Atlas Project (Neergaard, 10/15).

Kansas Health Institute: Medicare Part D Open Enrollment Starts Today
State officials are encouraging seniors to contact their area Senior Health Insurance Counseling for Kansas office if they need help enrolling or re-enrolling in the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. … In Kansas, seniors have access to 30 Medicare Part D plans. Subsidies are available for those with incomes below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $1,436 a month for a one-person household or $1,939 a month for a two-person household (10/15).

NPR: Medicare Begins Open Enrollment, With An Online Caveat
The open enrollment for Medicare programs that began Tuesday will run into December. While the Medicare website doesn't have the problems found in the new federal health system's sites, the government shutdown means that information "may not be up to date," the site warns its users (Chappell, 10/15).

USA Today: Thefts From Nursing Home Trust Funds Target The Elderly
Thousands of residents in U.S. nursing homes and other long-term care institutions for the aged and disabled have had their personal savings raided or mismanaged after relying on the facilities to safeguard the money in special trust fund accounts, a USA TODAY investigation shows. These trust funds, which most long-term care providers are required to maintain for residents who request that the facility handle their money, are supposed to work like conventional bank accounts, with accrued interest, regular statements and reliable oversight. But USA TODAY found more than 1,500 recent cases in which nursing homes have been cited by state and federal regulators for mishandling the funds (Eisler, 10/16).

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