A seismic change in Medicare and the rest of the U.S. health care industry began Oct. 1, when a new system of diagnostic codes — which all health providers must use to get paid — finally went into effect after a decade of controversy.
Turning 50 this month, Medicare has received a report card predicting reasonable long-term health for the program, but warning of future challenges posed by a surge of millions of baby boomers into the system in coming years. It also hinted at a possible return next year to a temporary shift in Medicare premiums, with some beneficiaries paying an additional amount for doctors’ services.
Being able to treat a medical problem is good, but dodging the problem altogether is even better. That seems obvious, yet Medicare has only recently expanded coverage for services that help prevent or stave off some of the diseases that make people very ill and — not coincidentally — cost Medicare mountains of money.
Medicare spent $6.7 billion too much in 2010 by "inappropriately" paying claims from physicians who had submitted the wrong billing codes or no documentation at all for certain services, according to a new report from the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Medical services that provide little or no health benefit to older Americans cost Medicare at least $1.9 billion a year, according to a landmark new study.
Fewer people died after Massachusetts introduced mandatory health coverage in 2006, a new Harvard study finds, offering "encouraging evidence" that the country's Affordable Care Act (ACA) - modeled on the Massachusetts plan - could also save lives, researchers said.
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