HHS: Medicare Part B Costs to Drop in 2012
"Nearly 20.5 million people have already taken advantage of one or more of the potentially life-saving preventive services that are now offered in Medicare without a co-pay or deductible," Sebelius said. "That includes a free annual wellness visit, a chance to sit down with one's healthcare provider and talk about any health issues they're dealing with."
Added CMS administrator Don Berwick, MD: "More people are sharing in the smaller increases in costs spread over a larger number of people, and the cost rise is lower than we predicted."
Jonathan Blum, head of the Center for Medicare, said that for Medicare and Medicare Advantage, the program has seen "a continued lower trend, and it's happening throughout the Medicare program, but in some of areas of the program, where we've had high spikes in the past, have been virtually flat in spending. Today's announcement just confirms a current data trend due to much lower utilization and spending growth throughout the Medicare program."
HHS has released a CMS fact sheet detailing premiums and deductibles affecting Medicare beneficiaries.
Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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