Feb 4, 2020 - Health

Medicare Advantage still leaves big out-of-pocket bills

Photo: John Giles - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images

Seniors who have supplemental coverage for vision, dental and hearing benefits still pay a lot out of pocket for those services, according to a study published in Health Affairs this week.

By the numbers: Medicare beneficiaries with coverage overall still had out-of-pocket expenses that made up 70% of their dental spending, 62% of vision spending and 79% of hearing spending, per data taken from the 2016 Cost Supplement to the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey.

Traditional Medicare does not cover those services, but Medicare Advantage plans often do.

Why it matters: Poor vision, oral and hearing health can cause overall general health to deteriorate and can increase emergency department and hospital visits.

Go deeper: Americans pay more out-of-pocket for health care than most wealthy countries

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Trump's latest boost for Medicare Advantage

President Trump and CMS administrator Seema Verma. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Trump administration announced Wednesday more changes designed to make Medicare Advantage more appealing and to lower prescription drug costs for seniors.

Why it matters: Although the proposal mainly tinkers around the edges, it could have a meaningful impact on some seniors' pocketbooks while furthering the administration's commitment to Medicare Advantage, a cash cow for insurers.

Go deeperArrowFeb 6, 2020 - Health

Medicare Advantage enrollment swells

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Roughly 24.4 million seniors and people with disabilities were enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan as of this month, a 9.4% jump from the same time in 2019, according to the latest federal data analyzed by Axios.

Why it matters: Medicare Advantage, which is run by private health insurers, continues to grow at high rates despite concerns over the program's higher spending and evidence that insurers are making people appear sicker than they are.

Go deeperArrowFeb 19, 2020 - Health

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