Medicare News

Current news for Medicare beneficiaries and the community that serves them.

The Medicare 2013 Annual Election Period

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Medicare 2013

Beneficiaries can switch from their Medicare Advantage plan back to Original Medicare starting Oct. 15. Changes are effective Jan. 1, 2014.

I’m enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan but I want to go back to Original Medicare. How can I do that?

The Medicare 2013 Annual Coordinated Election Period (ACEP) – more commonly referred to as Medicare Open Enrollment – starts October 15. This is the period during which Medicare beneficiaries can enroll in, and change or disenroll from Part C Medicare Advantage plans as well as Part D prescription drug plans, with any change effective January 1, 2014.

Some Medicare Advantage plans may have used deceptive marketing practices to lure patients into making the switch when it wasn’t necessarily in their best interest, according to the Department of Health and Human Services/Office of Inspector General reportBeneficiaries Remain Vulnerable to Sales Agents’ Marketing of Medicare Advantage Plans.” Read more


The Basics of Hospital Value-Based Purchasing

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The Basics of Hospital Value-Based PurchasingIn the new Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program, Medicare rewards hospitals that provide high quality care at competitive costs for their patients. Since October 2012, hospitals nationwide are being paid for inpatient acute care services based on documented quality care measures rather than the volume of services.

SOURCE: www.CMS.gov

Established under the Affordable Care Act, the Hospital VBP Program has implemented a pay-for-performance approach to the payment system that accounts for the largest share of Medicare spending, affecting payment for inpatient stays in over 3,500 hospitals across the country.

“Instead of payment that asks, ‘How much did you do?’ the Affordable Care Act clearly moves us toward payment that asks, ‘How well did you do?’ and more importantly, ‘How well did the patient do?’” according to Dr. Don Berwick, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator. Read more


Medicare Releases Hospital-Specific Pricing Information

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Medicare Pricing

Medicare released pricing information for more than 3,300 U.S. hospitals on the top 100 procedures and treatments in 2011.

Comparison shopping has taken on a whole new meaning thanks to the release of government data that shows hospitals across the country and within the same geographic region are charging significantly different rates for identical inpatient services. 

SOURCE: www.cms.gov

This data provided by the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services marks the first time information about hospital rates has been released publicly. With increased transparency, consumers (particularly those who are uninsured or have limited coverage) can shop more wisely for health care. Read more