Part D Fun Facts

Some fun facts from Kaiser Family Foundation about Medicare Part D, which covers prescription drugs. Enrollment has doubled since Part D’s inception in 2019. Enrollment in managed care drug plans (i.e., Medicare Advantage Part D Plans [MA-PD]) has continued to grow, but enrollment in stand alone Part D Plans [PDP] has leveled off or decreased.…

CBO: Healthcare projected to consume increasing share of federal outlays in next decade

Every year, the Congressional Budget Office projects how the federal budget will look over the coming decade. For the coming decade, the numbers look grim. Federal deficits in CBO’s baseline average $1.2 trillion per year and total $11.6 trillion over the 2020– 2029 period…Those deficits would average 4.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). Other…

Medicaid expansion and prescription drug use

How did Medicaid expansion affect prescription drug use? At first glance, one would think that prescriptions increased; more insurance lowers patient out-of-pocket cost so we would expect more prescriptions. Medicaid insurance may crowd out other forms of insurance; if those other forms of insurance covered more drugs, then perhaps utilization would go down. A study…

Is the hospital readmissions reduction program bad for patients?

The answer is ‘perhaps’ according to a new paper by Wadhera et al. (2018). They use data from 2005 to 2015, and apply an inverse probability–weighted 30-day and 45-day post-discharge mortality measure stratified by whether there was an associated readmission. They examine admissions for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia. Among Medicare beneficiaries, the HRRP…

Medicare, adverse selection and cancer

Conventional wisdom holds that Medicare Advantage provides better service and lower cost sharing than traditional Medicare fee-for-service, and thus is attractive for many people.  However, Medicare Advantage may restrict access to providers and may be less attractive to patients with more severe illnesses.  Healthcare economists, however, do not rely on rumors and stories to make…