Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: Medicare COVID-19 Data Release Blog

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: Medicare COVID-19 Data Release Blog. “Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released preliminary data on COVID-19 derived from Medicare claims. The data provides a highly instructive picture of the impact of COVID-19 on the Medicare population, further confirming a number of long understood patterns in the disease such as the elevated risk for seniors with underlying health conditions.”

‘This is not right’: Medicare’s plan guide was so messed up, it’s offering a do-over (Kansas City Star)

Kansas City Star: ‘This is not right’: Medicare’s plan guide was so messed up, it’s offering a do-over. “The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services added a new planning tool to its website, and it was so confusing — even for experts like [Kelly G.] Loeb — that congressional leaders have called for officials to publicize a special do-over period to give recipients another chance to enroll in the right plan. Loeb and other Medicare counselors worry that Medicare users could feel the aftershocks when they get their prescriptions this month.”

ProPublica: The $11 Million Dollar Medicare Tool That Gives Seniors the Wrong Insurance Information

ProPublica: The $11 Million Dollar Medicare Tool That Gives Seniors the Wrong Insurance Information. “The Trump administration redesigned the online Medicare Cost Finder for seniors to compare complex health insurance options. But consumer advocates have identified instances when the tool has malfunctioned and given inaccurate plan and price data.”

EurekAlert: Researchers teach ‘machines’ to detect Medicare fraud

EurekAlert: Researchers teach ‘machines’ to detect Medicare fraud . “Using a highly sophisticated form of pattern matching, researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science are teaching ‘machines’ to detect Medicare fraud. Medicare, the primary health care coverage for Americans 65 and older, accounts for 20 percent of health care spending in the United States. About $19 billion to $65 billion is lost every year because of Medicare fraud, waste or abuse.”

Associations Now: American Academy Of Actuaries Launches Online Voter Guides

Associations Now: American Academy Of Actuaries Launches Online Voter Guides. “Not only does Memorial Day signal the start of summer, it also marks the moment when political campaigns for fall elections kick into high gear. This year, the American Academy of Actuaries is serving voters by launching its 2018: Making Issues Count, a website that provides a nonpartisan analysis of key issues. The website will be updated through Election Day on November 6…. The new website features election guides grouped in six different categories where actuaries have expertise—and on which voters can base their consideration of candidate positions. Issue areas covered include Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, health insurance coverage, long-term care, lifetime income and retirement risk, and climate risk.”

ProPublica: Medicare Halts Release of Much-Anticipated Data

ProPublica: Medicare Halts Release of Much-Anticipated Data. “Officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have been validating the accuracy of the data and, in recent months, were preparing to release it to researchers. Medicare already shares data on the 38 million patients in the traditional Medicare program, which the government runs. … The grand unveiling of the new data was scheduled to take place at the annual research meeting of AcademyHealth, a festival of health wonkery, which just concluded in New Orleans. But at the last minute, the session was canceled.”

New Tool for Exploring Prescription Drug Costs

href=”https://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/12/21/rising-prescription-drug-costs-new-tool-lets-you-explore-whats-happening-medicare”>released a new tool to explore the costs of Medicare prescription drugs. “The tool includes information on a total of 80 drugs: 40 that are covered under the Medicare Prescription Drug Program (Part D) and 40 that are administered by physicians and other professionals. The tool allows you to sort these drugs in different ways, so you can rank them by total spending, spending per person, or by cost increases. It also shows how much the seniors and people with disabilities on Medicare pay for these drugs. The tool launched today provides a look at information on drug spending in the program and by beneficiaries going back five years and also includes helpful charts showing these trends over time.”

CMS Provides New Tool For Medicare Enrollment Stats

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has launched a new site designed to provide easier access to Medicare enrollment statistics. “The CMS Program Statistics website replaces the former Medicare and Medicaid Statistical Supplement, which was published annually in electronic form from 2001-2013. The website will include over 100 detailed, easy-to- access data tables on national health care, Medicare populations, utilization, and expenditures, as well as counts for Medicare-certified institutional and non-institutional providers. Today, we have released the first two sections, which include information on national health expenditures, life expectancy, population projections, and Medicare enrollment and providers, and we will continue to release other sections on a rolling-basis.”

US HHS Releases Map of Electricity-Dependent Medicare Beneficiaries

The US Department of Health and Human Services has launched a new tool that maps out community residents who are dependent on electricity for assistance or lifesaving devices – ventilators, wheelchairs, etc. The maps can be overlaid with radar/alert information to quickly identify citizens at risk from severe weather. “The HHS emPOWER Map shows the monthly total number of Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries’ claims for electricity-dependent equipment at the national, state, territory, county, and zip code levels. The tool incorporates these data with real-time severe weather tracking services from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in a Geographic Information System (GIS).” When I first read about this I was worried that it might be a privacy issue, but the information does not descend to residence-level (that information is extant, of course, but not available to the general public.) The closest zoom it does is zip code level.