This week, we are reading a report from Kaiser Family Foundation on Medicare beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket spending as a share of their income, and CMS proposed Medicare Advantage and Part D payment and policy changes  in 2019.

Medicare Beneficiaries’ Out-Of-Pocket Health Care Spending as a Share of Income Now and Projections for the Future | | January 26, 2018

In this report, we assess the current and projected out-of-pocket health care spending burden among Medicare beneficiaries using two approaches. First, we analyze average total per capita out-of-pocket health care spending as a share of average per capita Social Security income, building upon the analysis conducted annually by the Medicare Trustees. Second, we estimate the median ratio of total per capita out-of-pocket spending to per capita total income, an approach that addresses the distortion of average estimates by outlier values for spending and income. Under both approaches, we use a broad measure of Medicare beneficiaries’ total out-of-pocket spending that includes spending on health insurance premiums, cost sharing for Medicare-covered services, and costs for services not covered by Medicare, such as dental and long-term care. We present estimates of the out-of-pocket spending burden for Medicare beneficiaries overall, and by demographic, socioeconomic, and health status measures, for 2013 and projections for 2030, in constant 2016 dollars.

Read the full summary on here.

CMS proposes Medicare Advantage and Part D payment and policy updates to provide new benefits for enrollees, new protections to combat Opioid crisis | | February 1, 2018

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released proposed changes for the Medicare health and drug programs in 2019 that increase flexibility in Medicare Advantage that will allow more options and new benefits to Medicare beneficiaries, meeting their unique health needs and improving their quality of life. Furthermore, the proposal includes important new steps to ensure new patient-doctor-plan communication in combatting the opioid crisis.

As a part of these changes, CMS is redefining health-related supplemental benefits to include services that increase health and improve quality of life, including coverage of non-skilled in-home supports, portable wheelchair ramps and other assistive devices and modifications when patients need them.

Read the full press release and see links to the 2019 Advance Notices and Fact Sheets on here.