Explaining Changes To Part D Plans, Fixing Doctors’ Medicare Reimbursements, Fighting Hikes In Long-Term Care Insurance
News outlets cover various issues related to Medicare, including reports about prescription drug coverage and the continuing debate surrounding physician pay. Meanwhile, long-term care insurance is also an important issue for seniors.
Noting that 2 million baby boomers could sign up for Medicare prescription drug coverage by the end of this year, NPR reports: "Seniors can have a tough time choosing Medicare Part D plans for drug coverage. Margaret Riley works for a nonprofit in Sacramento that helps explain Medicare benefits. Riley says Congress created offices like hers around the country. 'I think signing up for Medicare is a little bit like being in purgatory, and you need somebody to help you get out of there.' This year, here's what Riley's telling seniors: They'll see fewer Part D plans because of the new federal health care law. California, for example, had 47 last year, and now there are 30. And Riley says most seniors won't have a co-pay for many preventive services. About 3 million seniors will have to choose new Medicare advantage plans because the old ones don't offer all the benefits required under new federal regulations" (Weiss, 11/22).
American Medical News: The "American Medical Association has intensified efforts to prevent a 25% reduction in Medicare physician pay." AMA President Cecil B. Wilson made Medicare pay "a focal point" of the association's interim meeting this month and "said the AMA would work with congressional leaders to stabilize Medicare pay for physicians at least through 2011" (Stagg Elliott, 11/22).
USA Today: Millions of aging Americans face concerns that their long-term care insurance could become unaffordable. "Long-term care insurance is supposed to protect seniors and their families from the soaring costs of nursing home and home-based health care. Increased use of long-term care insurance would also reduce the burden on Medicaid, which accounts for 43% of the cost of nursing home care, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. But the same factors that have highlighted the need for long-term care insurance - a rapidly aging population, lengthening longevity and unpredictable health care costs - have made it increasingly unprofitable for insurers" (Block, 11/21).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.