Automatic Prescription Refills: Helpful or Wasteful?

Prescription drug programs that automatically ship out refills at regular intervals can help older Americans follow doctor’s orders, according to business organizations that are lobbying against a Medicare crackdown on the practice. Medicare, though, says that the automatic refill programs lead to waste when beneficiaries get prescriptions they don’t need and can’t return them. In February, the Centers for Medicare & Medicare Services (CMS) proposed new regulations that say, in part: “Shipment of unwanted medications is not only wasteful, but …

New Report Shows the Savings in the Closing Doughtnut Hole

Good news everyone! There’s a new report that shows lots of people saving good cash on prescription drugs because of the Affordable Care Act. The Health and Human Services department reports that seniors have saved around $5.7 billion since January of 2011. This is largely due to the closing of the doughnut hole. While everyone who qualifies saves money, it really benefited those with chronic conditions. HHS has projected that savings per Medicare beneficiary will be about $5,000 through the …

Do Medicare Advantage Plans Skim Off The Healthiest?

By Jordan Rau, Senior Correspondent, Kaiser Health News New research finds that many seniors who switch from their HMO-style Medicare Advantage plan to traditional Medicare have higher levels of significant health problems, fueling concerns that the private plans cater to more profitable, healthy beneficiaries but don’t provide the most attractive care for the very ill. More than 13 million people, a quarter of all Medicare beneficiaries, are enrolled in these private plans. Enrollment has been growing, in part because the …

Consumers Face Long Waits When Medicare Is ‘Secondary Payer’

By Michelle Andrews for Kaiser Health News Anyone who sues for personal injury probably knows that the process may take time. But for Medicare beneficiaries, too often it’s not only the legal system that grinds slowly. Lawyers and policy experts say bureaucratic inefficiency at the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) can add months or even years to the process. During that period, a beneficiary often must wait until Medicare is reimbursed for its costs before he or …