Medicare

The federal program that covers medical care for people age 65 or older, younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease. Medicare covers about 13% of the US population and makes up a fifth of national health expenditures.

Impact of Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan Star Ratings on Enrollment Before and After Implementation of Quality-Related Bonus Payments in 2012

Research Brief
Jun. 10, 2016

In PLOS ONE, LDI Senior Fellows Pengxiang Li and Jalpa Doshi examine the impact of the Medicare Advantage Presciption Drug Plan star ratings before and after 2012, when they became tied to bonus payments. Does an increase in a plan’s star rating have a direct impact on concurrent year plan enrollment? What’s the indirect impact (via bonus payments) of star ratings on subsequent year plan enrollment?

Detecting Potential Overbilling in Medicare Reimbursement via Hours Worked

Research Brief
Apr. 18, 2016

Overbilling for physician services under Medicare Part B has long been a concern, as some estimates show that fraudulent “upcoding” or “overcharging” might have cost the program tens of billions of dollars per year. Existing methods to detect the prevalence and financial cost of overbilling have various limitations, so the authors developed a novel approach: create estimates of actual hours worked as implied by the medical service codes that providers submit to Medicare. In an NBER Working Paper, LDI Senior Fellow Hanming Fang and co-author Qing Gong examine whether this method can generate a quicker and more robust estimation of overbilling across medical specialties and geographic areas.

High Cost Sharing and Specialty Drug Initiation Under Medicare Part D: A Case Study in Patients With Newly Diagnosed Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

Research Brief
Apr. 1, 2016

Does high cost sharing in Medicare Part D drug plans affect whether and how quickly patients initiate a recommended and life-extending drug treatment? In American Journal of Managed Care, LDI Senior Fellows Jalpa Doshi, Pengxiang Li and colleagues assess whether Medicare patients newly diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and subject to significant coinsurance, take longer to initiate tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) treatment than low-income (subsidized) Medicare patients subject to a nominal copayment. 

Biologic therapy adherence, discontinuation, switching, and restarting among patients with psoriasis in the US Medicare population

Mar. 22, 2016

Jalpa Doshi, Junko Takeshita, Lionel Pinto, Penxiang Li, Xinyan Yu, Preethi Rao, Hema N. Viswanathan, Joel M. Gelfand

In the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, Jalpa Doshi and colleagues, including Penxiang Li and Preethi Rao, investigate real-world utilization patterns of biologic therapy in Medicare beneficiaries with psoriasis. Studies indicate low adherence to biologics among patients with psoriasis, yet little is known about the adherence level in the Medicare population. Using data from the Medicare Chronic Condition Data Warehouse Part A, B, and D files with 12-month follow-up after index prescription, Doshi and colleagues conducted a retrospective claims analysis on 2707...

Nurse staffing and the work environment linked to readmissions among older adults following elective total hip and knee replacement

Mar. 14, 2016

Karen Lasater, Matthew McHugh

In the International Journal for Quality in Health Care, Karen Lasater and Matthew McHugh examine the effect of nurse staffing and the work environment on 10- and 30-day unplanned readmissions for Medicare patients following elective total hip and knee replacement. The authors conducted a cross-sectional secondary data analysis using patient administrative data, nurse survey data, and hospital organizational data from acute care hospitals in California, Florida, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Nurse survey responses were aggregated to construct hospital measures of nurse staffing and...

Psoriasis in the US Medicare Population: Prevalence, Treatment, and Factors Associated with Biologic Use

Jan. 29, 2016

Junko Takeshita, Joel Gelfand, Penxiang Li, Lionel Pinto, Xinyan Yu, Preethi Rao, Hema Viswanathan, Jalpa Doshi

In the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, Junko Takeshita and colleagues, including Preethi Rao and Jalpa Doshi, look at factors associated with the use of biologics and other treatments for psoriasis. They  analyzed claims from a nationally representative sample of Medicare beneficiaries with Part D drug coverage. The researchers find that Medicare Part D beneficiaries without a low-income subsidy (LIS) had 70% lower odds of having received biologics than those with LIS. Similarly, the odds of having received biologics were 69% lower among black patients compared with white...

Internalizing Behavioral Externalities: Benefit Integration in Health Insurance

Dec. 18, 2015

Amanda Starc, Robert Town

In an NBER working paper, Amanda Starc and Robert Town demonstrate the benefits of integrating medical and drug benefits in the Medicare Part D setting. They compare stand-alone prescription drug plans (PDPs, which cover only drugs) and Medicare Advantage-prescription drug (MA-PD) plans (which cover total medical expenditures).  They document that plans that cover all medical expenses spend more on drugs than plans that are only responsible for prescription drug spending, consistent with drug spending offsetting some medical costs. The effect is driven by drug categories that are likely to...

Cost Differences After Initial CT Colonography Versus Optical Colonoscopy in the Elderly

Nov. 19, 2015

Hanna Zafar, Jianing Yang, Katrina Armstrong, Peter Groeneveld

In Academic Radiology, Hanna Zafar and colleagues, including Peter Groeneveld, compare differences in total Medicare costs among asymptomatic elderly patients in the year after initial computed tomographic colonography (CTC) or initial optical colonoscopy (OC). In 2009, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services stopped covering CTC screening among asymptomatic individuals based on the scarcity of data regarding differences in outcomes and costs between patients who received CTC and OC. Zafar and colleagues performed a retrospective cohort study of asymptomatic Medicare...

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