Jan 23, 2014 — After successful legal challenges, Medicare will soon begin to release data about how much it pays doctors. The details remain unknown, but three recent projects offer clues. Don't expect an app or website that will be easy for consumers to use.
Jan 9, 2014 — Supplemental insurance plans shield millions of people from Medicare's deductibles and other out-of-pocket costs. Some health economists have criticized these so-called Medigap plans for inflating health care spending by encouraging people to seek care they don't really need.
Jan 6, 2014 — Health care costs grew at 3.7 percent in 2012, the fourth year of a trend of smaller annual increases. The Obama administration says that the Affordable Care Act is a factor. But the actuaries who wrote the report beg to differ, saying the recession is a more likely cause.
Jan 6, 2014 — For the first time, Medicare would have the authority to kick out doctors and other providers of health who engage in abusive prescribing. It could also take such action if providers' licenses have been suspended or revoked by state regulators or if they were restricted from prescribing painkillers and other controlled substances.
Dec 20, 2013 — Credit card companies routinely flag or block suspicious charges as they happen. Yet under Medicare, a convoluted and poorly managed system for catching fraud allows costly scams for prescription drugs to slide by. The federal government has done little to stop the fraud, an investigation by ProPublica found.
Dec 19, 2013 — After a decade of kicking the ball down the road, Congress appears ready to repeal its payment formula for Medicare and replace it with a whole new system. This time, doctors would be paid according to the quality of results they produce, rather than the number of services they provide.
Dec 17, 2013 — Among the thousands of hospitals in the U.S., Medicare has identified 95 where elderly patients were most likely to suffer significant setbacks and another 97 hospitals where patients tended to have the smoothest recoveries.
Nov 15, 2013 — Medicare has tied incentive payments and penalties to two-dozen quality measurements, including surveys of patient satisfaction and death rates. More than 1,200 hospitals are receiving bonuses. But more hospitals are being paid less for each Medicare patient they treat for the year that began Oct. 1.
Oct 31, 2013 — Political bickering defines Washington these day. Yet leaders from both parties on two key committees have come up with a plan to fix a longstanding problem with the formula that pays doctors who treat Medicare patients. But the politicians haven't figured out how to pay for it.
Oct 25, 2013 — The annual Medicare bill is expected to hit $1.1 trillion in 2023. As Medicare spending grows, contributing to the federal deficit, some policymakers have suggested that raising the age of eligibility to 67 could help the budget should be an option.