Trending News Today: CMS Seeks Guidance on Lowering Medicare Part D Costs

Top news of the day from across the healthcare landscape.

Despite the boom in Affordable Care Act (ACA) signups, a new study suggests that nearly one-third of Americans are unaware of the open enrollment period currently underway, according to Kaiser Health News. The study also showed that 45% of participants said they heard less about open enrollment this year, while 38% said they heard approximately the same amount of information compared with previous years, according to Kaiser. The enrollment period for 2018 was cut in half and faced significant funding cuts for outreach efforts, which could play a role in the limited knowledge about open enrollment, according to the article.

As GOP lawmakers continue to move a tax reform bill forward, there are concerns that increasing the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade will result in significant cuts to Medicare, according to the Los Angeles Times. To adhere to the proposed tax bills, the government would be required to cut $150 billion in spending per year. The LA Times said that since Medicare is not protected, it may be subjected to a spending cut of 4%, which may mean that hospitals and physicians would see lower reimbursement.

Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services requested public comments on how the agency can use discounts and rebates to reduce co-payments for Medicare Part D enrollees, according to Kaiser Health News. These rebates and discounts are negotiated by pharmacy benefit managers and insurers and are typically not made public. Medicare officials are asking the public to tell them ideas about how manufacturer rebates and pharmacy price concessions can be used to benefit elderly Medicare-insured patients, according to the article.