Mar 12, 2020 - Health

Seniors could pay less for insulin with new Medicare model

Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced yesterday that it's launching a new voluntary model that would allow seniors to buy insulin with no more than a $35 monthly copay.

Why it matters: Medicare beneficiaries who rely on insulin and are enrolled in a participating plan would save an average of $446 a year in out-of-pocket costs. This move may not target the overall price of insulin, but it could meaningfully lower what seniors pay themselves for it.

Go deeper: Insulin prices propel higher spending among diabetics

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Price of the CDC coronavirus test: $36

A commercial coronavirus test, like the one above, has a price tag of about $51. Photo: Andrew Theodorakis/Getty Images

Medicare has released the prices of COVID-19 tests: $35.92 for the tests developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and $51.33 for all other commercial tests.

The bottom line: These are the prices that labs bill Medicare. Most health insurers have waived copays for coronavirus tests, meaning you won't have to pay anything upfront. If you receive bills for any amount, especially if they are higher than these prices, you should appeal.

Even supporters may not understand Medicare for All

Data: Kaiser Family Foundation Tracking Poll; Note: ±3 percentage points margin of error; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Even many supporters of Medicare for All don’t necessarily know how it would work.

The big picture: That doesn’t necessarily mean more information will turn supporters into opponents, but it shows that we’re still at an early stage in this debate, in which opinions about Medicare for All are often reflections of broader political alliances, not the details of a plan.

Go deeperArrowMar 2, 2020 - Health

Justice Department sues Anthem, alleging Medicare fraud

Anthem's headquarters in Indianapolis. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

The Department of Justice has sued Anthem, alleging that the health insurance company knowingly submitted inaccurate medical codes to the federal government from 2014 to 2018 as a way to get higher payments for its Medicare Advantage plans and turned "a blind eye" to coding problems.

Why it matters: This is one of the largest Medicare Advantage fraud lawsuits to date, and federal prosecutors believe they have more than enough to evidence to claim that Anthem bilked millions of dollars from taxpayers.

Go deeperArrowMar 27, 2020 - Health