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.
For more than a decade, customers used the online plan finder to compare dozens of policies. Yet after a redesign of the website, the search results no longer list which plan offers a customer the best value. Federal officials say it will be fixed before enrollment begins next week.
Medicare beneficiaries under observation care in the hospital can face higher costs for treatment and are not covered for nursing home care when discharged. A federal trial in Hartford, Conn., will determine whether the government’s ban on appeals involving observation care coverage is fair.
The problem affects private drug policies and Medicare Advantage plans that provide both medical and drug coverage and substitute for traditional government-run Medicare. It could leave plan members without coverage.