Health Affairs And RWJF Launch Health Policy Briefs With Look At Medicare Advantage

May 21, 2009

Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) are pleased to announce a new series of Health Policy Briefs aimed at providing clear, accessible overviews of timely and important health policy topics. The first brief explores the current debate over cutting payments to Medicare Advantage plans – the privately run health plans that now serve almost a quarter of Medicare enrollees.

Health Policy Briefs will be available at no cost on the Read the rest of this entry »

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Health Affairs And RWJF Launch Health Policy Briefs With Look At Medicare Advantage

May 21, 2009

Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) are pleased to announce a new series of Health Policy Briefs aimed at providing clear, accessible overviews of timely and important health policy topics. The first brief explores the current debate over cutting payments to Medicare Advantage plans – the privately run health plans that now serve almost a quarter of Medicare enrollees.

Health Policy Briefs will be available at no cost on the Read the rest of this entry »


Medicare Proposes Expansion Of PET Scans As Cancer Diagnostic Tool

January 18, 2009

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a national coverage determination (NCD) to expand coverage for initial diagnostic testing with positron emission tomography (PET) for many Medicare beneficiaries who are being treated for cancer.

A minimally invasive diagnostic imaging procedure, PET uses a radioactive tracer to evaluate glucose metabolism in tumors and in normal tissue. The test may provide important clinical information to guide the initial treatment approach for many tumors. This additional information may help physicians to distinguish benign from cancerous lesions and better determine the extent of a tumor’s growth or metastasis.
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Papers Examine Effects Of Expanded Eligibility In Public Health Insurance Program For Older Children, Medicare Spending; More

January 16, 2009

“Has Public Health Insurance for Older Children Reduced Disparities in Access to Care and Health Outcomes?” Journal of Health Economics: The paper examines the effects of expanding public health insurance programs for older children. The paper analyzes data from the National Health Interview Survey from 1986 to 2005 and finds that income became a less important predictor of the health statuses of children ages nine to 17 in recent years. In addition, the report finds that while eligibility for public health insurance programs improves current utilization of preventive care, it has little effect on a person’s current health status. In addition, the paper finds some evidence that Medicaid eligibility in early childhood has positive effects on future health, which suggests that early and adequate care puts children on a course for better health as they grow (Currie et al., Journal of Health Economics, December 2008).
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Efforts To Reduce Payments To Medicare Advantage Plans Expected From Obama Administration, Congress

January 11, 2009

The incoming Obama administration and Democratic-led Congress likely will cut payments to private Medicare Advantage plans in 2009, an aide to Senate Democrats said Monday during a briefing sponsored by the journal Health Affairs, CQ HealthBeat reports (Weyl, CQ HealthBeat, 11/24). According to The Hill, a “longstanding ideological battle between liberals and conservatives over the propriety of turning over a growing portion of the Medicare entitlement to private companies is meeting head-on with the need for Congress to make cuts to certain programs in order to finance other priorities.”
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CMS To Launch One-Year Personal Health Record Pilot Program For Medicare Beneficiaries In Arizona, Utah

January 9, 2009

HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt on Wednesday said that a one-year Medicare pilot program that will encourage beneficiaries to create online personal health records will reduce paperwork and prevent unnecessary medical procedures, Cronkite News/Arizona Daily Star reports. In January 2009, the pilot program will launch in Arizona and Utah, and CMS is partnering with Google Health, HealthTrio, NoMoreClipboard.com, and PassportMD to offer no-cost or low-cost PHRs, which will allow beneficiaries to maintain and share their medical histories with health care providers, pharmacies and others.
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Medicare-PartD.com Brings 2009 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan Information Online, USA

January 5, 2009

The Medicare-PartD.com website now offers Medicare beneficiaries and advocates an insight into the 2009 prescription drug plans. Based on the extensive 2009 Medicare Part D plan information recently released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Medicare-PartD.com has developed national and state one-page interactive Part D plan summaries.

“We designed our Part D plan summaries to provide a quick comparison of changes in the 2008 and 2009 Medicare Part D landscapes,” notes Dr. Susan Johnson technical director of the Medicare-PartD.com website. “Our Part D plan information is concisely organized allowing users to start with either a national or state overview of Part D plans and then ‘clicking’ on a specific statistic reveals the underlying details.”
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