As you might be aware, the Part D coverage gap, also known as the donut hole, is with us for one more year. The new healthcare law is gradually doing away with the coverage gap. Until the donut hole is gone for good in 2020, you can save money on prescriptions that are not covered by a Minnesota PDP by downloading a Pharmacy Discount Card or coupons. We recommend GoodRx.com.
Medi-Cal is California’s state-managed version of Medicaid, a federal health insurance program designed for low-income individuals and families. It provides low-cost and no-cost health insurance coverage to individuals and families that meet certain eligibility requirements.* Those who qualify for Medi-Cal coverage can continue to receive those benefits as long as they meet eligibility requirements.
Popular opinion surveys show that the public views Medicare's problems as serious, but not as urgent as other concerns. In January 2006, the Pew Research Center found 62 percent of the public said addressing Medicare's financial problems should be a high priority for the government, but that still put it behind other priorities. Surveys suggest that there's no public consensus behind any specific strategy to keep the program solvent.
Footnote: Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program, which pays for medical services for children and adults with limited income and resources. Data for 2013 were preliminary as of August 2015. Data include children/youth enrolled in both Medi-Cal and Medicare. Figures may not match data by age and by race/ethnicity, which reflect average monthly enrollment over a fiscal year. Please visit the California Dept. of Health Care Services for more information.
As of 2015, individuals who qualified for Medicare by virtue of their age alone made up 86 percent of Minnesota Medicare recipients. The balance — 14 percent — were on Medicare as the result of a disability. Kentucky had the highest percent of Medicare recipients listed as disabled (25 percent), followed by Alabama, Mississippi, West Virginia and Arkansas. Hawaii had the smallest percentage at 10 percent, followed by New Jersey, and North and South Dakota at 13 percent each.
Chemotherapy and other medications dispensed in a physician's office are reimbursed according to the Average Sales Price, a number computed by taking the total dollar sales of a drug as the numerator and the number of units sold nationwide as the denominator. The current reimbursement formula is known as "ASP+6" since it reimburses physicians at 106% of the ASP of drugs. Pharmaceutical company discounts and rebates are included in the calculation of ASP, and tend to reduce it. In addition, Medicare pays 80% of ASP+6, which is the equivalent of 84.8% of the actual average cost of the drug. Some patients have supplemental insurance or can afford the co-pay. Large numbers do not. This leaves the payment to physicians for most of the drugs in an "underwater" state. ASP+6 superseded Average Wholesale Price in 2005, after a 2003 front-page New York Times article drew attention to the inaccuracies of Average Wholesale Price calculations.
In 1998, Congress replaced the VPS with the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). This was done because of highly variable payment rates under the MVPS. The SGR attempts to control spending by setting yearly and cumulative spending targets. If actual spending for a given year exceeds the spending target for that year, reimbursement rates are adjusted downward by decreasing the Conversion Factor (CF) for RBRVS RVUs.
A 2001 study by the Government Accountability Office evaluated the quality of responses given by Medicare contractor customer service representatives to provider (physician) questions. The evaluators assembled a list of questions, which they asked during a random sampling of calls to Medicare contractors. The rate of complete, accurate information provided by Medicare customer service representatives was 15%. Since then, steps have been taken to improve the quality of customer service given by Medicare contractors, specifically the 1-800-MEDICARE contractor. As a result, 1-800-MEDICARE customer service representatives (CSR) have seen an increase in training, quality assurance monitoring has significantly increased, and a customer satisfaction survey is offered to random callers.
Did you know that there are different ways to get your Medicare coverage? When they think of Medicare, many people think of the government program known as Original Medicare, which includes Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). But you may have other Medicare plan options. For example, you may be able to get your Part A and Part B benefits through a private, Medicare-approved insurance company.
Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) - Part A helps cover inpatient care in hospitals, including critical access hospitals, and skilled nursing facilities (not custodial or long-term care). It also helps cover hospice care and some home health care. Beneficiaries must meet certain conditions to get these benefits. Most people don't pay a premium for Part A because they or a spouse already paid for it through their payroll taxes while working.