Meet the Medicare Fraud-Fighters

For many older Americans, Medicare has been a life-saver – literally. And, over its 47-year-old history, the government health care initiative has allowed countless more Americans to lived longer and healthier lives. That’s the good news. The not-so-good? Some doctors, pharmacies and other providers try to steal from Medicare by overbilling or submitting fraudulent charges for reimbursement. >> Sign up for the AARP Money newsletter That’s where the Medicare Fraud Strike Force (don’t you just love that name?) comes in. …

The Maverick Doctor Who Helped to Invent Family Medicine

In the late 1950s, a young physician named Gene Farley was working as a small-town doctor in rural New York state when he came to the realization that what he had learned in medical school was all wrong. >> Sign up for the AARP Leisure Newsletter Farley, who died on Nov. 8 at age 86 in Wisconsin, explained in a 1992 oral history interview that his change in thinking came about as he was treating two teenage boys from different families …

Affordable Care Act Opens Internet Marketplaces

By Nicole Duritz If you’re like Linda Tramel, from suburban St. Louis, you’ve probably been following the slow and sometimes confusing implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare” as it’s sometimes called. Although the majority of Americans are insured,  14% of the U.S. population are uninsured and will  have a new opportunity to purchase health insurance through their state’s Health Insurance Marketplace.  The Marketplace allows consumers to shop, compare and purchase health insurance policies online. Tramel knows her family …

Congressional Budget Experts Predict More Red Ink

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has just published its 2013 Long-Term Budget Outlook, and this year’s set of predictions for the nation’s balance sheet is sure to push Washington’s heartburn rate up a few notches. Three quick takeaways from the CBO’s report: The percentage of federal debt held by the public is higher than at any point in modern U.S. history. Federal debt held by the public is likely to decline a little bit over the next few years, as …

In These States, Hospitals and Patients Could Be in for a Rough Ride

Hospitals and health-care systems in the 21 states that aren’t expanding Medicaid, the health program for low-income Americans, may be in for an especially rough financial ride. With hospitals in those states facing the prospect of providing even more uncompensated care, Bloomberg.com says, the municipal bonds they put up for sale may very well have diminished appeal. As Bloomberg’s Brian Chappatta explains: “Health-care related bonds are already posting the biggest losses among revenue debt in the $3.7 trillion municipal market, …

What Put the Brakes on Medicare Spending?

The Holy Grail in battles over the federal budget has been how to slow down the runaway train of health care spending. So it surely comes as good news that spending on traditional Medicare has slowed substantially, as a new Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study shows, and not just because of the broader economic slowdown. For 25 years, spending on traditional Medicare rose, on average, 8 percent a year. Then, from 2007 to 2012, the increase slowed to an average annual …