Why People Love Their Medicare Drug Coverage

Medicare’s drug coverage gets a 90 percent satisfaction rating from people who use it. Medicare Part D, in short, gets an A from beneficiaries. Pretty good for a program that barely squeaked through Congress 10 years ago. Here’s what Medicare beneficiaries think about Part D today, according to a national survey sponsored by the Healthcare Leadership Council: Ninety-six percent say the drug coverage gives them peace of mind. Ninety-five percent say their plan is convenient to use. Eighty-four percent say …

Doctors’ Extreme Prescribing – Footprints of Medicare Fraud?

Diagnosis: possible Medicare fraud. That’s the gist of a report from the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that found hundreds of doctors with “very extreme” prescribing practices – practices that could be harming Medicare patients and costing the government untold millions. Government investigators zeroed in on doctors writing hundreds of prescriptions per patient and large numbers of prescriptions for painkillers and other addictive drugs, among other practices. Related: 6 Common Medicare Scams After sifting through …

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 …

Does Your Doctor Prescribe Too Many Risky Drugs?

Medicare’s popular prescription drug program, Part D, covers more than 35 million people and a billion prescriptions annually, but Medicare has never monitored which doctors may be overprescribing medications that are risky for older adults – namely, drugs that are disorienting, addictive or harmful. The investigative journalism group ProPublica, together with the Washington Post, has now launched a database called Prescriber Checkup, which allows users to search doctors’ names and see which ones are frequently prescribing potentially dangerous drugs, such …

A State Where Government-Run Health Care Really Works

By Sarah Varney, Staff Writer, Kaiser Health News APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz. – The hallways of the Apache Junction Health Center are still. Only half of the rooms are filled, and the men and women who live here seem surely in life’s final season. “These are folks that have chronic cognitive and physical disabilities that are not going to improve,” said George Jacobson, administrator of the nursing home. That this nursing home is sparsely filled with residents too disabled in mind or …

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 …