Preferred Pharmacies in Medicare Part D

Medicare Part D plans have begun using preferred pharmacy networks in order to steer their beneficiaries to lower cost pharmacies. A key question is, does this work? A paper by Xu et al. (2022) aims to answer this question using 2011-2016 data. that compares Low Income Subsidy (LIS) Medicare beneficiaries and non-LIS beneficiaries. LIS beneficiaries…

Who pays more for hospital and physician services: commercial payers, Medicare or Medicaid? And how much more?

Many people might know that generally the answer is commercial health plans have the most generous reimbursement compared to government plans. However, a key question is how much more do they pay? Commercial vs. Medicare rates A January 2022 report by the Congressional Budget Office finds that commercial payers reimburse hospitals at 223% of Medicare…

Quality of Care at Teaching Hospitals

Medicare pays higher reimbursement to teaching hospitals through indirect medical education (IME) payments to hospitals that train a high share of residents. IME inflate standard reimbursements in an attempt to compensate hospitals for these additional costs. Medicare also pay hospitals directly for some cost of training residents through the graduate medical education (GME). A key…

Did the Oncology Care Model produce cost savings?

The answer is ‘yes’, but the magnitude of these savings are relatively small and more than offset by additional OCM program costs. Keating et al. (2021) writes: In this exploratory difference-in-differences study of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries with cancer undergoing chemotherapy (483 310 beneficiaries with 987 332 episodes treated at 201 OCM participating practices and 557 354 beneficiaries with…

On behavioral change, health and age

A Health Affairs article (Meyer 2021) discusses the potential benefits of Medicare Diabetes Prevention Programs (MDPP). MDPP aims to reduce patient weight and prevent patients from becoming diabetic. Commenting on her Medicare clientele enrolled in the program, one instructor noted: “I’ve seen a lot of Medicare people do really well with the program because they…