The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says it will cover screening and counseling for obesity as a free preventive service for Medicare beneficiaries.
M. Spencer Green/AP
November 30, 2011 Medicare will now cover screening and counseling for obesity as a free preventive service. Advocates hope the decision will encourage private insurers and Medicaid to do the same.
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Triage nurses screen patients in the ER waiting room at the University of Chicago Medical Center in Chicago in late 2010. Patients in Chicago were among those least satisfied with their hospital care.
M. Spencer Green/AP
November 8, 2011 Patients in those places gave some of the lowest evaluations of their hospital stays, Medicare data show. The surveys asked patients how well their doctors and nurses communicated, whether their pain was always handled welland whether their rooms were clean and quiet.
October 27, 2011 In the first hour of Talk of the Nation, the financial crisis in Europe, and new recommendations for the HPV vaccine. In the second hour, a Q&a about Medicare, and an update on the Occupy Wall Street protests.
October 24, 2011 The annual "open enrollment" period for joining or changing prescription drug or private health plans is already under way. But the new dates are only one of several changes Medicare enrollees need to be aware of this year.
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October 19, 2011 A decline in the admission of Medicare patients to hospitals for treatment of heart failure saves at least $4.1 billion a year, a new study finds. Better treatment of coronary artery disease and high blood pressure may help explain the decline.
October 14, 2011 The administration has pulled the plug on the CLASS Act, a part of health overhaul that is supposed to provide a modest cash benefit to the elderly for the purchase of long-term care services at home. The actuaries couldn't get the finances to work.
Medicare beneficiaries who want to switch drug plans will have to make a decision earlier than usual this year.
October 14, 2011 The annual enrollment period for privately run Medicare Advantage plans and prescription drug benefits starts Saturday, rather than in mid-November as in past years. The deadline for enrollment has also been pushed up — to Dec. 7 from Dec. 31.
October 5, 2011 As Medicare moves to link hospital payments to the costs and quality of care, hospitals that serve large minority populations could get hurt. That's one implication of an analysis that looks at the cost and quality of care given at individual hospitals across the nation.
September 15, 2011 The plans offered by health insurance companies are an alternative to traditional, government fee-for-service Medicare. Nearly 12 million seniors are in the plans, about one-quarter of all Medicare beneficiaries.
Whoa! Medicare Administrator Donald Berwick now qualifies for Medicare, a first for a sitting head of the federal health program.
J. David Ake/AP
September 9, 2011 Medicare Administration Dr. Donald Berwick will now eat his own health insurance cooking. He started signing up for coverage earlier this week and hopes to have his Medicare card within a few weeks. He said he's getting no special treatment in the application process.
August 23, 2011 The new bundling proposal would turn Medicare's payment system on its head. Rather than paying hospitals, doctors, and post-hospital caregivers separately, Medicare would provide a single payment for, say, heart attack care.
July 27, 2011 A study finds the Medicare drug benefit is trimming around $12 billion in yearly spending on medical care. The savings are not enough to offset the total costs of the program.
July 26, 2011 HCA Holdings, the biggest for-profit hospital chain in the U.S., reported lower earnings than expected in the latest quarter due mainly to a decline in surgical cases.
July 22, 2011 Most trims to Medicare's budget have not directly affected care for beneficiaries. Instead cuts in Medicare spending have been directed at hospitals, doctors and nursing homes.
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July 21, 2011 A federal audit finds Medicare spending on hospice care for patients in nursing homes increased by 69 percent to $4.9 billion over just four years. Much of the increase was due to longer duration of hospice care in nursing homes compared with services provided at home.
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