Health insurance cost control (11 - 20 of 267 items)
Medicare: Observations on Program Sustainability and Strategies to Control Spending on Any Proposed Drug Benefit
GAO-03-650T: Published: Apr 9, 2003. Publicly Released: Apr 9, 2003.
The House Committee on Ways and Means is holding a hearing on modernizing Medicare and integrating prescription drugs into the program. There are growing concerns about gaps in the Medicare program, most notably the lack of outpatient prescription drug coverage, which may leave Medicare's most vulnerable beneficiaries with high out-of-pocket costs. At the same time, Medicare already faces a huge p...
Medicare Hospital and Physician Payments: Geographic Cost Adjustments Important to Preserve Beneficiary Access to Services
GAO-02-968T: Published: Jul 23, 2002. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 2002.
This testimony discusses Medicare program payment adjustments to hospitals and physicians that account for geographic differences in costs. Because Medicare's hospital and physician payment systems are based on national rates, these geographic cost adjustments are essential to account for costs beyond providers' control and to ensure that beneficiaries have adequate access to services. If these ad...
Medicare: Challenges Remain in Setting Payments for Medical Equipment and Supplies and Covered Drugs
GAO-02-833T: Published: Jun 12, 2002. Publicly Released: Jun 12, 2002.
Medicare has paid higher than market rates for various medical equipment and supplies and often considerably higher than provider acquisition costs for Medicare-covered outpatient drugs. Congress has enacted a series of legislative changes affecting payment methods and payment adjustment authority for medical equipment and supplies and outpatient drugs since the late 1980s. However, progress in se...
Medicare: Orthotics Ruling Has Implications for Beneficiary Access and Federal and State Costs
GAO-02-330: Published: May 22, 2002. Publicly Released: May 22, 2002.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA), now called the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), became concerned that some suppliers were improperly billing Medicare for items that attach to wheelchairs and other equipment. Some suppliers were billing for such items using codes for orthodic devices, including arm, back, and neck braces that prov...
Medigap: Current Polices Contain Coverage Gaps, Undermine Cost Control Incentives
GAO-02-533T: Published: Mar 14, 2002. Publicly Released: Mar 14, 2002.
Medicare provides valuable and extensive health care coverage for 40 million elderly and disabled beneficiaries. Nevertheless, significant gaps leave some beneficiaries vulnerable to sizeable out-of-pocket expenses. Medicare provides no limit on out-of-pocket spending and no coverage for most outpatient prescription drugs. Most beneficiaries have supplemental coverage that helps to fill Medicare c...
Medicare Physician Payments: Spending Targets Encourage Fiscal Discipline, Modifications Could Stabilize Fees
GAO-02-441T: Published: Feb 14, 2002. Publicly Released: Feb 14, 2002.
Congress implemented a physician fee schedule and a fee update formula to moderate spending growth relative to specified Medicare spending targets. These spending targets increase annually to reflect higher costs for physician services, the growth in the overall economy, and changes in the number of Medicare beneficiaries. Physician fees are adjusted for changes in the costs of providing services...
Medicare + Choice: Recent Payment Increases Had Little Effect on Benefits or Plan Availability in 2001
GAO-02-202: Published: Nov 21, 2001. Publicly Released: Dec 4, 2001.
The number of contracts under Medicare's managed care program--Medicare+Choice (M+C)--fell from 340 to 180 between 1998 and 2001. The reduction reflected decisions by some managed care organizations (MCOs) to terminate selected contracts or to discontinue service in some covered areas. Although nearly all MCOs renewed at least some of their Medicare contracts over this period, many reduced the geo...
Medicare Part B Drugs: Program Payments Should Reflect Market Prices
GAO-01-1142T: Published: Sep 21, 2001. Publicly Released: Sep 21, 2001.
The pricing of Medicare's part B-covered prescription drugs--largely drugs that cannot be administered by patients themselves--has been under scrutiny for years. Most of the part B drugs with the highest Medicare payments and billing volume fall into three categories: those that are billed for by physicians and typically provided in a physician office setting, those that are billed for by pharmacy...
Medicare Management: CMS Faces Challenges to Sustain Progress and Address Weaknesses
GAO-01-817: Published: Jul 31, 2001. Publicly Released: Aug 31, 2001.
Considering the complexity, the size, and the statutory constraints affecting the Medicare Program, some contend that the Health Care Financing Administration's (HCFA)--recently renamed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services--management of Medicare has, on balance, been satisfactory. Others argue that HCFA's management has been unacceptable. HCFA's record has been mixed and the agency's ch...
Medigap Insurance: Plans Are Widely Available but Have Limited Benefits and May Have High Costs
GAO-01-941: Published: Jul 31, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 2001.
To protect themselves against large out-of-pocket expenses and help fill gaps in Medicare coverage, most beneficiaries buy supplemental insurance, known as Medigap; contribute to employer-sponsored health benefits to supplement Medicare coverage; or enroll in private Medicare+Choice plans rather than traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Because Medicare+Choice plans are not available everywhere...