Medicare Itemizes Its $103 Billion Drug Bill

The federal government popped the cap off drug spending on April 30, detailing doctor-by-doctor and drug-by-drug how Medicare and its beneficiaries spent $103 billion on pharmaceuticals in 2013. The data show that 14 drugs cost the federal government and Medicare beneficiaries more than $1 billion each, accounting for nearly a quarter of Medicare prescription drug spending in 2013. Most of those drugs are used to treat chronic conditions that plague the elderly, including diabetes, depression, high cholesterol and blood pressure, …

Health Reform 2.0: Improving Health Literacy of Older Americans

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) increases access to health insurance coverage, establishes a minimum benefit package, makes coverage more affordable, and eliminates most cost sharing for recommended preventive services. Now it’s time to empower consumers to take advantage of these improvements. One way to achieve this goal is to increase basic health literacy. What is health literacy? Health literacy is the capacity to obtain, process and understand basic health information and services in order to make appropriate health decisions. Why …

Health Among Top Issues That Matter Most to African Americans

In January 2011, AARP interviewed Americans 50 and older from every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. We asked about their dreams as they think about what is next in their life as well as the challenges they see themselves facing. Staying healthy tops the list for African American/Black respondents in the Voices of the 50+ America: Dreams & Challenges study, with staying mentally sharp, having adequate health insurance coverage, and receiving Medicare benefits very …

Do You Worry About Money? Join the Club

Whether you’re nearing the end of your working life or still several decades away, Americans all share the same financial fear: Will I have enough money to retire? More than two in three Americans ages 30 to 64 say their top financial worry is whether they’ll be able to save enough to live reasonably well in retirement, according to a Gallup poll released this week. Not being able to pay for medical costs was the top money fear for people …

Employers Shift More Health Care Costs to Workers

It’s not that your paycheck feels smaller. It is smaller, thanks to the bigger portion that health care costs are siphoning from your take-home pay. Employers year after year have shifted more of the burden for health insurance costs to workers. And it’s no different for this year. Employees’ premiums rose by nearly 7 percent to $2,975 for 2014, not counting out-of-pocket costs, according to a survey released this week by Towers Watson and the National Business Group on Health, …

Cost Barriers Persist for Colonoscopy Screening In Medicare

Thousands of people in the United States die every year from colorectal cancer-cancer of the colon or rectum. That’s astonishing because colorectal cancer is almost entirely preventable by use of recommended screening tests. Yet, in 2008, less than two-thirds of all people ages 65 and older had the screening. Medicare pays for several types of screening tests, including colonoscopy which is considered the best test for early detection and prevention of colorectal cancer. Colonoscopy allows for removal of polyps and …