There are only a few weeks before the Medicare annual open enrollment period begins Oct. 15. This year's Medicare season crosses calendars with the rollout of the Health Insurance Marketplace, so it's important Medicare-eligible beneficiaries understand the differences between the two government programs.
Doctors are getting behind such tech-savvy healthcare approaches as electronic prescriptions and medical records, and their efforts are helping them ultimately save their patients money, according to a new study.
President Barack Obama’s victory cements the Affordable Care Act, expanding coverage to millions but leaving weighty questions about how to pay for it and other care to be delivered to an increasingly unhealthy, aging population.
The Republican proposal to change Medicare that has been championed by GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan remains unpopular with Americans, although younger people are more receptive to it than older ones, according to a new poll.
An epidemic more deadly than coal dust is sweeping through the dogwood-dappled hollows of eastern Kentucky. The new threat: diabetes. In Kentucky and across the broad Appalachian region, a third of the population is estimated by health officials to have diabetes, double the rate for the country as a whole. Ads for diabetes counseling and testing clinics have replaced those for supermarkets as a major revenue source in local newspapers, and billboards urging middle-aged people to get tested appear almost everywhere there’s a straight stretch of highway.
Diabetes affects nearly 25 million Americans, and that number is expected to grow substantially every year. It's the fifth leading cause of death in America, more than breast cancer and AIDs combined. And according to a report released last week from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), it's a disease that’s costing Americans $83 billion a year in hospital fees — 23 percent of total hospital spending.
A Florida-based endocrinologist and his team have reported that an intensive 16-week wellness program aimed at type 2 patients yielded some dramatic results: Patients were able to decrease their insulin by 46 percent and their oral medication by 12 percent. They saw their 30-day prescription costs drop by an average of more than $140 per month, reduced their BMI by 3.07, and experienced a drop of 0.7% in their A1C.
Twenty thousand physicians in four Midwest states received a glimpse into their financial future last month. Landing in their e-mail inboxes were links to reports from Medicare showing the amount their patients cost on average as well as the quality of the care they provided. The reports also showed how Medicare spending on each doctor's patients compared to their local peers in Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Nebraska.
Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that foot and leg amputations decreased dramatically between 1996 and 2008. Over those 12 years, amputations dropped from 11 out of every 1,000 diabetic adults to only four-a decrease of almost 64 percent. Over the same period, however, the number of people officially diagnosed with diabetes tripled.
When healthcare reform was debated across the country in 2009 and 2010, one of the flash points was end-of-life care. Healthcare experts have promoted the use of advance directives, which let doctors know how much treatment is desired by patients at the end of life. While this went too far for some, directives do hold the promise of reducing Medicare costs at the end of life, according to a new study.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, researchers conducted the analysis. They didn't just look at whether advance directives reduced costs -- they also examined how the directives affected costs in various regions across the country. This place-based approach yielded interesting results.
Imagine if you could keep diabetes at bay for another three or four years with lifestyle changes. Would you change what you ate? Would you commit to an exercise program, maintain a food journal, and join a support group? Imagine if you could take these simple steps and save money. How quickly would you say "Sign me up"?
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