Medicare Rights Center Speaks at Public Forum on Part B Medications

Stacy SandersMedicare WatchLeave a Comment

Earlier this week, the Medicare Rights Center participated in a panel discussion at a public forum convened by the Pew Charitable Trusts on a proposal by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to test new ways to pay for Medicare Part B prescription drugs. Other panelists included experts on prescription drugs, pharmaceutical makers, and clinical oncologists. The discussion focused on the panelists’ views of the potential merits and downsides of the CMS proposal. Read More...

CMS Releases Final Medicare Advantage and Part D Plan Changes for 2017

Casey SchwarzMedicare WatchLeave a Comment

Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published the 2017 Medicare Advantage Capitation Rates and Medicare Advantage and Part D Payment Policies and Final Call Letter (2017 Final Notice and Call Letter). In March, Medicare Rights submitted comments on the draft version of the call letter supporting of many of the proposed changes, which seek to improve the accuracy of payment structures and strengthen plan accountability. The 2017 Call Letter finalizes most of the proposals included in the draft letter, with some moderate changes. Read More...

Medicare Rights Asks CMS to Withdraw Proposal to Require Prior Authorization for Home Health Care

Casey SchwarzMedicare WatchLeave a Comment

This week, Medicare Rights submitted comments requesting that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) withdraw a proposal to explore requiring prior authorization for home health care services. These services include home-based skilled nursing and therapy care for people with Medicare who are homebound, meaning they are unable to leave their home without difficulty. Read More...

CMS Proposes New Ways to Pay for Part B Covered Medications

Casey SchwarzMedicare Watch2 Comments

Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center proposed a demonstration to test new strategies to pay for medications that are covered under Part B. Most prescription medications are covered under Medicare Part D, but some (mostly those administered by a doctor) are paid for under the outpatient Part B benefit. Common Part B prescription drugs treat cancer, macular degeneration, anemia, and arthritis. Part B medications tend to be very expensive—in 2013, Medicare and its beneficiaries spent $19 billion on Part B prescriptions. Read More...

Diabetes Prevention Program Showing Positive Results

Mitchell ClarkMedicare Watch1 Comment

Last week, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that the expansion of the Diabetes Prevention Program, led by the Innovation Center, is improving the quality of patient care without limiting services and will reduce net spending in the Medicare program. “This program has been shown to reduce health care costs and help prevent diabetes, and is one that Medicare, employers, and private insurers can use to help 86 million Americans live healthier,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “The Affordable Care Act (ACA) gave Medicare the tools to support this groundbreaking effort and to expand this program more broadly.” Read More...