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Coalition Urges Congress to Pass Legislation Safeguarding Medicare Beneficiaries' Skilled Nursing Care For Immediate Release October 21, 2012   Terry Berthelot 860-456-7790 Toby Edelman 202-293-5760 Washington, DC. – A Congressional briefing on "observation status," sponsored by Congressman Joe Courtney (D. CT), was held yesterday afternoon to examine Medicare beneficiaries' being denied Medicare coverage for care … Read more

November is National Hospice Month.  The first White House proclamation honoring hospice month was signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. Access to care has improved significantly in the three decades since November has been celebrated as National Hospice Month.  At that time, hospices in the US served several thousand individuals and their family members … Read more

"Patients should pay more for their health care." Both Republicans and Democrats, including President Obama, promote policies to increase patients' costs as a solution to curbing the use of "inappropriate" health care services and controlling health care costs.  The President's plan for deficit reduction refers to this idea as creating incentives for the use of … Read more

Nearly one in five Medicare beneficiaries rely on Medicare Supplemental insurance policies (Medigap) to fill in the gaps of some of their Medicare coverage.  As noted by the Kaiser Family Foundation, "Medigap policies help shield beneficiaries from sudden, relatively high out-of-pocket costs due to an unpredictable medical event, and also allow beneficiaries to more accurately … Read more

Once again the Medicare Advantage and Part D Annual Coordinated Election Period (ACEP) is upon us; it's time to contemplate Medicare prescription drug and Medicare Advantage choices for another calendar year.  The big news is that the ACEP, while one week longer than in the past, starts and ends much earlier this year.  The ACEP … Read more

Last week, President Obama unveiled his recommendations to Congress's Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction ("Super Committee").[1]  The President's Plan for Economic Growth and Deficit Reduction seeks to pay for the President's jobs bill and produce net savings of more than $3 trillion over the next decade.[2]  The proposal includes $320 billion in savings from … Read more

Fall is the time for Medicare beneficiaries to explore their options regarding Part D prescription drug and Part C Medicare Advantage plans.  In years past, the annual enrollment period began in mid-November and lasted to the end of the year, with any changes or choices made effective January 1st.  Starting this year, that time period … Read more

An estimated 50,000[1] Medicare beneficiaries who are currently enrolled in Medicare Advantage "Special Needs Plans" (SNPs) but who do not meet the definition of a special needs individual for purposes of their plan will be disenrolled from those plans effective December 31, 2011. Before the end of September 2011, each such beneficiary will receive a … Read more

Hospitalists are defined as physicians who are based full-time in acute care hospitals and who provide care to hospitalized patients.  The past decade has witnessed a rapid growth in hospitals' use of hospitalists, who have been shown to lead to reduced lengths of inpatient hospital stays.  A new study, however, finds that decreased inpatient costs … Read more

On August 19, 2011, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Round 2 of its DMEPOS competitive bidding program.[1]  Bidding is to begin in January 2012.  Round 2 adds more product categories for competitive bidding and expands the number of competitive bidding areas (CBAs) affected. CMS also announced on August 19ththat it will … Read more