Pay Less for Your Prescription Drugs

By Nicole Duritz The dog days of August are the most likely time for Medicare Part D participants to fall into the “doughnut hole” and see their prescription costs rise. With AARP resources, you can see if you’re at risk of falling in, and find options for lowering your drug costs. The Doughnut Hole Each year, 19 percent of Medicare Part D beneficiaries fall into the doughnut hole. Once the amount of money you and your insurance company pay for …

Most Medicare Recipients Have Modest Incomes, Kaiser Reports

If you’ve ever wondered about the finances of people receiving federally funded Medicare benefits – are they wealthy, poor or somewhere in between? – a new chart provides some clues. This interactive infographic, released by the Kaiser Family Foundation, takes into account assets, income, age and more as it delivers a financial picture of the estimated 52.4 million people on Medicare. The graphic also includes projected data for 2030, so you can see how current recipients measure up against future beneficiaries. >> Sign up for the AARP Money …

Medicare Patients Now Can Do a Check-Up on Doctors

In a major data release this morning, Medicare shared information on $77 billion in payments to more than 880,000 health care providers. Consumers for the first time can look up doctors, find out the number of procedures they have performed and how much Medicare paid. This is one piece of the puzzle for determining the overall value of care being delivered. The information, from 2012 Medicare Part B payments, already has generated some eye-popping articles, with reports of one Florida ophthalmologist receiving …

Obama Budget Proposal Targets Medicare Savings

As expected, President Obama’s budget proposal abandoned a call to change the way annual increases in Social Security benefits are calculated and continued a call for Medicare savings. Announced March 4, his plan, which goes next to Congress, would hit some Medicare providers, drug companies and higher-income Medicare beneficiaries as part of $402 billion in estimated health care savings over the next decade. Among the proposed changes for beneficiaries: Charge higher premiums for Parts B and D for higher-income people …

Medicare Part D Generates Billions in Taxpayer Savings

Medicare‘s prescription drug benefit saves taxpayers billions of dollars by dramatically reducing hospital admissions, a new study shows. Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Illinois at Chicago estimated the total savings at $1.5 billion a year – about 2.2 percent of the total $67.7 billion cost of Medicare Part D in 2011. “Medicare Part D requires a substantial investment from the federal government, and the million-dollar question has been, ‘Does this investment …

Bill Would Cover More Medicare Patients for Skilled Nursing Care

A congressman is expressing confidence that a bill he sponsored – to fix a problem faced by many Medicare patients who are left without coverage for skilled nursing care – will pass this year. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., who introduced the bill with Rep. Tom Latham, R-Iowa, told reporters in a conference call that the legislation has picked up 137 cosponsors. “This is not happening in a vacuum,” Courtney said, according to the Connecticut Mirror. “It’s happening because there is …