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Medicare Monthly Premiums to Drop for Seniors

Millions of seniors who had to pay high increases in Medicare premiums this year will get a break in 2023 when they see a rare drop in monthly premiums for Medicare Part B.

The

  • By Cara Murez HealthDay Reporter
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  • September 28, 2022
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  • Here's How the Inflation Reduction Act Will Lower the Cost of Health Care

    President Joe Biden on Tuesday signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law, making it the most significant health care legislation enacted in more than a decade.

    How will it affect health care?

    Millions of Americans covered by Medicare will see big reductions in costs for both health care and...

    Here's How New Federal Legislation Might Cut Your Drug Costs

    The Inflation Reduction Act is expected to bring out-of-pocket drug costs down for many U.S. seniors, but most of its benefits aren't immediate.

    Under the law, Medicare will now be allowed to negotiate the cost of some drugs. That should eventually bring down out-of-pocket costs for seniors with Medicare Part D prescription drug plans, according to John Clark, a clinical associate profess...

    Medicare's Free Wellness Visit Can Prevent Diabetes Amputation

    Annual wellness visits covered by Medicare reduce diabetes patients' risk of amputation by more than one-third, a new study finds.

    "Our results confirmed our hypothesis that Annual Wellness Visits are associated with a reduced risk of major lower-extremity amputations, highlighting the importance of con...

    Medicare Advantage Plans Often Deny Coverage for Eligible, Necessary Care: Report

    Coverage for eligible, necessary care is denied each year to tens of thousands of seniors with private Medicare Advantage plans, U.S. federal investigators say.

    In a report released Thursday, the team from the inspector general's office of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said Medicare needs ...

    1 in 5 Medicare Patients Use Medical Marijuana: Survey

    One in five Medicare recipients use medical marijuana and two-thirds say it should be covered by Medicare, a new survey reveals.

    Medical marijuana is legal in 37 states, four territories and the District of Columbia, but it isn't covered by Medicare, the federal health insurance program fo...

    Medicare Will Only Cover Aduhelm for Alzheimer's Patients in Clinical Trials

    Medicare announced Thursday that it will limit its coverage of the pricey new drug Aduhelm to Alzheimer's patients enrolled in clinical trials of the drug.

    Approved amid controversy last year by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the latest decision was meant to protect patients while gathering ...

    Medicare Now Covers COVID Tests Bought at Drug Stores

    Medicare announced Monday that seniors can now walk into most drug stores and get a free over-the-counter COVID test.

    "For the first time in its history, Medicare is paying for an over-the-counter test," Deputy Administrator Dr. Meena Seshamani, director of the Center for Medicare, said in a

  • By Cara Murez and Robin Foster HealthDay Reporters
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  • April 5, 2022
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  • Medicare to Provide Free COVID-19 Rapid Tests

    Medicare will soon provide up to eight free COVID rapid tests a month to seniors enrolled in the government health insurance program, the Biden administration announced Thursday.

    The new policy for the over-the-counter tests will take effect in early spring. The at-home tests will...

    Calif. Universal Health Care System Bill Faces Monday Deadline

    California lawmakers must vote by Monday on whether to keep a bill to create a universal health care system moving forward.

    Monday, Jan. 31, is the last chance for California Democrats in the Assembly to keep the

  • Robert Preidt and Robin Foster
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  • January 31, 2022
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  • After Heart Attack, Cardiac Rehab Begins Road to Recovery

    Your heart is in an incredibly vulnerable state if you've suffered a heart attack or are fighting heart failure, and cardiac rehabilitation could be an important part of your recovery.

    Unfortunately, not enough older folks appear to be taking advantage of this life-saving therapy.

    Fewer than one in 10 eligible Medicare beneficiaries get recommended heart failure rehab treatments, th...

    Here's How to Get Your Free Home COVID Test Kits

    Home COVID tests are now available at no cost to most Americans, as part of the Biden administration's effort to increase testing around the United States.

    Folks can buy home tests online or in stores and be

  • Dennis Thompson
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  • January 18, 2022
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  • Insurance Often Covers Ivermectin for COVID, Even Though Drug Doesn't Work

    U.S. insurers are paying millions of dollars a year to cover the cost of ivermectin for COVID-19 patients despite a lack of proof the anti-parasitic drug is effective against the virus, a new study finds.

    Both the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization say ivermectin pills -- typically used to treat parasitic infections like worms -- should not be used for COV...

    Medicare Proposes to Only Cover Alzheimer's Drug Aduhelm for Use in Clinical Trials

    It's a move that could severely limit the number of people taking the controversial new Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm: Medicare on Tuesday proposed to only cover the cost of the pricey medication for people enrolled in approved clinical trials.

    A final decision on coverage is expected later this year.

    The drug costs $28,200 per year, but that cost will only be covered for participants ...

    Medicare May Rethink Premium Hike for Pricey Alzheimer's Drug

    Medicare has been told to reassess a significant premium increase it had announced that largely stemmed from the expensive new Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm.

    U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra's directive, which was annou...

    Aduhelm: Will Medicare Cover the Controversial Alzheimer's Drug?

    Following a months-long and unprecedented review, Medicare officials expect to announce within the next couple of weeks whether the program will cover the controversial Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm. The drug's benefits are in question and its annual price tag tops $28,000.

    The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) tend to cover with little fanfare most drugs approved by its si...

    Maker Cuts Price of Controversial New Alzheimer's Drug in Half

    The maker of the pricey new Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm (aducanumab) said Monday it will slash the cost of its medication in half, effective Jan. 1, 2022.

    The move follows widespread criticism of the drug's original $56,000-a-year price tag.

    The reduction in the wholesale acquisition cost announced by Biogen means that the annual cost for a patient of average weight will be $28,200, th...

    Many Seniors on Medicare Falling Into Medical Debt

    "Medicare For All" gets tossed around a lot by advocates of universal health coverage, but a new study finds that today's Medicare is far from free for seniors and people with disabilities.

    Instead, a large number of beneficiaries are sliding into medical debt and delaying needed health care due to financial holes in the system, according to findings published online Dec. 10 in

    Biden Pledges to Lower Prescription Drug Prices for Americans

    President Joe Biden promised cheaper prescription drugs for all Americans on Monday as his social agenda legislation winds its way through Congress.

    Biden tried to shift Americans' focus to pocketbook provisions overlooked in his $2 trillion legislation, which deals with everything from climate to family life and taxes. The legislation has passed the House and is pending before the Senate...

    Almost 13 Million Americans Per Year Skip Meds Due to Cost

    Nearly 13 million U.S. adults a year skip or delay filling needed prescriptions due to high price tags, new research shows.

    This figure includes more than 2.3 million Medicare beneficiaries and 3.8 million privately insured working-age adults who didn't get needed medications each year in 2018 and 2019 because of cost, according to a nationally representative survey of U.S. households.

    Pricey Alzheimer's Drug Drives Spike in Medicare B Premium: Officials

    A new and expensive Alzheimer's drug called Aduhelm is responsible for about half of the $21.60 increase in monthly premiums for Medicare's Part B outpatient program in 2022, Medicare officials report.

    The new premium will be $170.10 a month, and the $21.60 boost is the biggest increase ever in dollar amount, but not in percentage terms. As recently as August, a smaller increase of $10 fr...

    Medicare Could Negotiate Drug Prices Under Democrat Proposal

    A measure designed to lower prescription drug costs for seniors has been added to President Joe Biden's social safety net and climate change bill that Democratic leaders hope to bring to a House vote this week.

    For the first time, the measure would enable the federal government to negotiate prices for medications covered by Medicare, The New York Times reported.

    Under the proposal, ...

    Almost 1 in 3 U.S. Seniors Now Sees at Least 5 Doctors Per Year

    Nearly one-third of older U.S. adults visit at least five different doctors each year -- reflecting the growing role of specialists in Americans' health care, a new study finds.

    Over the past 20 years, Americans on Medicare have been increasingly seeing specialists, researchers found, with almost no change in visits with their primary care doctor.

    On average, beneficiaries saw a 34%...

    Cancer Costs U.S. Patients $21 Billion a Year

    American cancer patients spent more than $21 billion on their care in 2019, a new report shows.

    That $21.09 billion included out-of-pocket costs of $16.22 billion and patient time costs of $4.87 billion. Patient time costs are the value of the time patients spend traveling for, waiting for and receiving care.

    "As the costs of cancer treatment continue to rise, greater attention to a...

    Out-of-Pocket Medical Bills for COVID-19 May Average $3,800 in 2021: Study

    Americans hospitalized with COVID-19 could now face thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket medical costs, according to a new report.

    In 2020, most health insurance companies waived co-pays, deductibles and other cost-sharing for hospitalized COVID-19 patients, but many stopped doing that early this year, the University of Michigan researchers noted.

    "Many insurers claim that it is ju...

    How the COVID Pandemic Made the Opioid Epidemic Worse, Even as Telehealth Helped

    The COVID-19 pandemic has shaken up the U.S. opioid crisis in ways bad and good, increasing the risk of use and overdose but also spurring innovative approaches to treatment.

    The pandemic has definitely been linked to an increase in opioid use and overdose deaths, Tufts University's Thomas Stopka said during a HealthDay Now video interview.

    "We've been seeing increases in o...

    18 Million Americans Can't Pay for Needed Meds

    As many as 18 million Americans can't afford their prescribed medications, a new nationwide poll finds.

    That's 7% of the adult population in the United States. But when it comes to households making less than $24,000 per year, the percentage jumps to 19%, the West Health/Gallup poll revealed.

    Here are the key findings:

    • The inability to pay for a prescription is twice as h...

    Hospitalizing the Unvaccinated Has Cost U.S. Nearly $6 Billion

    The cost of providing hospital care for unvaccinated Americans has reached $5.7 billion in just three months, CBS News reported.

    Between June and August, about 287,000 people who were not vaccinated were hospitalized for COVID-19 in the United States, according to data from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and the Peterson Center on Healthcare, which collaborated to track healt...

    Turning 65 Brings Big Health Care Cost Savings, Study Finds

    When Americans are eligible for Medicare at age 65, they see a significant drop in their out-of-pocket medical costs.

    Lowering the eligibility age would save even more, especially for people with the highest out-of-pocket costs, according to a new study.

    "Me...

    Most Alzheimer's Patients Wouldn't Have Qualified for Controversial Drug's Trial: Study

    U.S. approval of the Alzheimer's drug Aduhelm is already mired in controversy. Now a new study finds that most Alzheimer's patients could not have taken part in clinical trials that led to the green light.

    In June, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave accelerated approval to Aduhelm (aducanumab) for treating patients with mild cognitive impairment or mild dementia from Alzheimer's d...

    Average COVID Hospitalization Is 150 Times More Expensive Than Vaccination

    While the cost of administering COVID-19 vaccines is nominal -- and free to consumers in the United States -- the cost of paying for hospitalizations for people who've contracted the virus is dramatically higher.

    The average financial cost of hospitalization for a COVID-19 patient insured by Medicare - at $21,752 -- is about 145 times the reimbursement Medicare pays for vaccinating one pe...

    Little Change in Number of Uninsured in  Pandemic's First Year

    While the COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on the economy and jobs, it didn't result in fewer Americans having health insurance.

    The number of 18- to 64-year-olds in the United States without health insurance held steady at 11% between March 2019 and April 2021, according to a survey by the Urban Institute, a social policy research organization.

    "Unlike the last recession, los...

    Lowering Medicare Age Could Help Close Racial Gaps in Health Care: Study

    Could reducing racial disparities in health care be as simple as lowering the age at which Americans qualify for Medicare?

    Yes, claims a new study that suggests lowering eligibility from age 65 to age 60 could go a long way toward addressing inequities in health insurance, access to care and self-reported health decline.

    Racial and ethnic disparities in insurance coverage fall by mo...

    PrEP HIV Prevention Pills to Be Free for Insured Americans

    Nearly all health insurers must cover the entire cost of HIV prevention treatments, the U.S. government says.

    That includes the two approved pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) drugs Truvada and Descovy, all clinic visits and lab tests, NBC News reported.

    The guidance, issued this week by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, along with the Department of Lab...

    Many Hit Hard by Pandemic Now Swamped by Medical Debt

    The coronavirus pandemic has left plenty of Americans saddled with medical bills they can't pay, a new survey reveals.

    More than 50% of those who were infected with COVID-19 or who lost income due to the pandemic are now struggling with medical debt, according to researchers from The Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit organization that advocates a high-performing health care system.

    "T...

    Medicare Mulls Coverage for Controversial Alzheimer's Drug

    TUESDAY, July 13, 2021 (Healthday News) -- Medicare launched a formal process on Monday that will determine whether the agency will cover Aduhelm, the newly approved Alzheimer's drug whose high price tag and unproven benefits have prompted widespread controversy.

    Medicare's announcement came the same day that leaders of two House committees that are investigating Aduhelm's approval asked ...

    Is Medicare Overspending? Costco Prices Much Less for Generic Drugs

    Can Costco beat Medicare Part D when it comes to prescription drug prices?

    Apparently so, claims a new study that found that roughly half of generic medications were cheaper when purchased from the discount retailer than from the government program.

    The researchers compared the prices paid by Medicare Part D plans (including patient out-of-pocket payments) for 184 generic prescripti...

    U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Challenge to Affordable Care Act

    The landmark Affordable Care Act, which has expanded health care coverage to tens of millions of Americans, has withstood a third challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court.

    In a 7-2 decision, a majority of justices ruled on Thursday that plaintiffs involved in the case did not sustain any injury that gave them standing to sue, The New York Times reported.

    The decision left un...

    Medicare's Penalties for Poor-Quality Dialysis Centers Aren't Helping: Study

    Dialysis centers hit with financial penalties for poor performance don't tend to improve afterward, calling into question a set of U.S. federal programs intended to improve health care nationwide, a new report says.

    Dialysis centers face up to a 2% reduction in their annual Medicare reimbursements if they get a low score on a set of quality measures designed by the U.S. Centers for Medica...

    Why a COVID Diagnosis Could Cost You Way More Money in 2021

    COVID-19 could be a much more expensive experience for folks who fall ill this year, thanks to the return of deductibles and copays, new research suggests.

    Most folks who became gravely ill with COVID last year didn't face crushing medical bills because nearly all insurance companies agreed to waive cost-sharing for coronavirus care during the height of the pandemic, explained Dr. Kao-Pin...

    Average COVID Hospital Bill for U.S. Seniors Nearly $22,000

    The cost of COVID-19 hospitalizations averaged nearly $22,000 for older Americans in 2020 - and much more for those who became critically ill, a new government study finds.

    Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked at the cost of COVID-19 care to the Medicare program, which covers Americans aged 65 and up.

    On average, the investigators found, the prog...

    It's Still Tough to Find Prices on Most U.S. Hospital Websites

    U.S. hospitals have been required to make their prices public since 2019, but 18 months into the rule more than half weren't doing it, a new study finds.

    In 2018, the Trump administration issued a rule requiring hospitals to publish their "chargemasters" on their websites. A chargemaster is a rundown of a hospital's services, along with their list prices - something akin to the manufactur...

    Job Losses Hit Americans Hard in Pandemic, Report Confirms

    American families that suffered job losses during the pandemic are struggling to pay their bills and afford food, and many have turned to government help, a new study finds.

    Researchers analyzed data from nearly 7,700 adults who took part in an Urban Institute survey in December 2019 and from more than 7,700 who took part in a December 2020 survey.

    Despite major nationwide job losse...

    Why So Many New Cancer Diagnoses When Americans Turn 65?

    A few years ago, Dr. Joseph Shrager, a professor of cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford University School of Medicine, noticed that lung cancer diagnoses were noticeably higher at age 65 than at slightly older or younger ages.

    "There was no reason rates should differ much between the ages of 63 and 65," Shrager said.

    He discussed this with his colleagues, who said they were seeing so...

    Choice of Brand-Name Drug Over Generics Costs Medicare Nearly $2 Billion Annually

    Wider use of prescription generic drugs could save Medicare nearly $2 billion a year, researchers say.

    The new analysis of Medicare Part D prescription drug claims for 2017 used a random 20% of beneficiaries, 224 drugs with one or more generic substitutes and at least 1,000 claims.

    Medicare Part D accounts for roughly one-third of all prescription drug spending in the United States....

    If Elected, Joe Biden Has Big Plans for Health Care

    If Joe Biden becomes the next president, he would have clear and ambitious plans for the nation's health -- expanding the Affordable Care Act, empowering public health agencies to deal with COVID-19, and passing a stimulus bill that would support struggling doctors, hospitals and nursing homes.

    The question is how much he'll be able to accomplish with a Senate that remains in the han...

    It's Not Medical Outcomes That Drive Patients' Hospital Reviews

    Rave online reviews about a hospital stay may not mean much about the actual medical care there, if a new study is any indication.

    Researchers found that across U.S. hospitals, patient-satisfaction scores were more dependent on "hospitality" factors -- like friendly nurses, quiet rooms and good food -- than on hard measures of health care quality.

    At hospitals with the lowes...

    Fewer American Families Weighed Down by Medical Bills

    The number of people struggling to pay their medical bills declined dramatically during the last decade, as the Affordable Care Act expanded health insurance coverage and financial protection for the sick.

    The percentage of families who had problems paying medical expenses in the previous year declined from about 20% in 2011 to 14% in 2018, according to a new report from the U...

    1 in 5 Insured Hit With Surprise Bills for Surgery

    You scheduled your surgery and made sure both your doctor and hospital are in your insurer's approved network of providers. Everything went without a hitch -- until a whopper of a bill showed up in the mail for "out-of-network" care during your operation.

    The average out-of-network surprise bill tops $2,000, a new study finds. And about 20% of patients who had surgery using a doc...

    A Quarter of Middle-Aged Americans Worry They Can't Afford Health Care

    A large fraction of Americans nearing retirement age are worried they can't afford health insurance now, much less when they quit working to enjoy the good life, a new survey shows.

    One in every four people between 50 and 64 are not confident they'll be able to afford health insurance during the next year, and nearly half worry they won't be able to afford coverage once they retire, r...