Even the savviest Medicare drug plan shoppers can get a shock when they fill prescriptions: That great deal on medications is no bargain after prices go up.
Private and public employers are increasingly using the government’s Medicare Advantage program as an alternative to their existing retiree health plan and traditional Medicare coverage. As a result, the federal government is paying the “overwhelming majority” of medical costs, according to an industry analyst.
If federal officials accept a court’s decision, some patients will get a chance to seek refunds for their nursing home and other expenses.
Medicare officials say complaints are rising from seniors lured into private plans with misleading information or enrolled without their consent. In response, officials have threatened to penalize the private companies selling Medicare Advantage and drug plans if they or agents working on their behalf mislead consumers.
Following the devastating impact of covid-19 on nursing homes, state lawmakers want to be sure that government and private payments primarily go to improve care and staffing.
This year, 23 states passed more than 70 pandemic-related provisions affecting nursing homes, including measures setting minimum staffing levels, expanding visitation protections and limiting owners’ profit margins.
A Trump administration Medicare rule will push some hospital patients into a Catch-22: The government says several hundred procedures no longer need to be done in a hospital, but it did not approve them to be performed elsewhere. So patients will still need to use a hospital while not officially admitted — and may be charged more out-of-pocket for the care.
Under pressure from organizations representing doctors, nurses, hospitals and other care providers, a handful of states are offering them protections from civil lawsuits over medical treatment.
Hundreds of thousands of people will be able to appeal hospitals’ decisions to classify them as “observation care” patients instead of inpatients, under a ruling last week in a class action suit.
Members of Congress and others complain Medicare’s revamped Plan Finder had problems. Federal officials say they can help consumers who got bad information change their plans next year. But details about how switching will work are yet to come.