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Category Archives: CFAH

Hospitals Under the Microscope: Another Way to Check-Out Your Hospital Trudy Lieberman

January 9th, 2013 | 0

CFAHThe nation’s hospitals are now officially on notice that the federal government is looking closely at the kind of care they give—so closely that Medicare will be giving them a financial bonus or a penalty depending on the job they do. At the end of the year, Medicare announced that some 1,500 hospitals received bonuses while about 1,400 got payment reductions. For hospitals treating a lot of Medicare patients, that can mean big bucks for the bottom line, either way.

In the hope of spurring better care—and maybe reducing costs—the Affordable Care Act requires Medicare to judge the quality of care they deliver using measures of care for mostly heart and pneumonia patients, ratings of patient experience, and tracking if patients are readmitted after 30 days. Health experts regard these costly readmissions as preventable failures that occurred somewhere in the chain of care.

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When it’s Time to Drop Your Medicare Advantage Plan Trudy Lieberman

November 21st, 2012 | 2

CFAHA few weeks ago, I reported that most seniors on Medicare tend to stick to the plan they initially chose even though as the years go by they might be able to get a cheaper model by junking the old one. Medicare beneficiaries are more like bank customers than car buyers, it seems. Once they choose a plan—whether it’s a traditional Medigap policy or one of the new Medicare Advantage (MA) plans—they keep it.

A study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private, nonprofit research organization, checked out this phenomenon and concluded that if seniors stayed in a plan they could end up paying ten percent more in premiums than if they switched to a newer plan. New plans often have cheaper premiums because health insurance sellers—engaging in a kind of bait and switch—entice shoppers with low price tags and then as they get older and sicker and have medical claims, the premiums go up. Still, people hang on to what they have.

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