Medicare

MEDICARE HAS PLAYED A VITAL ROLE IN PROVIDING health care benefits to nearly all Americans age 65 and older. In total, over 55 million Americans had Medicare coverage in 2015. The Medicare program, however, faces long-term sustainability challenges. As the baby boomer population ages into the program over the next few decades, Medicare enrollment will grow dramatically and the...Read more

ONE METHOD OF EXPANDING HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE that policymakers have considered as part of the health care election platforms is a Medicare buy-in option. The idea is that a subset of those individuals not eligible for Medicare be allowed to buy in to Medicare for their health insurance coverage. Currently, eligibility for Medicare begins at age 65, or younger for those...Read more

IMPROVING THE QUALITY AND COST-EFFECTIVENESS of care under the Medicare program is a key health policy challenge. While many efforts are rightly focused on realigning financial incentives in Medicare’s provider payment and delivery system, better aligning incentives on the beneficiary side should also be considered. In particular, updating the program’s traditional fee-for-...Read more

PREMIUM SUPPORT IS A REFORM OPTION that has been proposed as a way to improve Medicare’s financial condition. Currently, Medicare beneficiaries can choose to enroll either in the traditional fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare program or in a private Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. Under traditional Medicare, beneficiaries receive a specified benefit package, and pay a Part B premium...Read more

MEDICARE SPENDING WILL INCREASE DRAMATICALLY over the next few decades as the baby boomer population ages into the program and health spending per beneficiary grows. At the same time, number of workers per enrollee will shrink. As a result, benefit payments are expected to exceed payroll taxes, threatening solvency of one of its major trust funds. And Medicare will make up...Read more