Medicare benefits from immigrants, study says

Published on August 7, 2014 at 10:18 AM · No Comments

A study by the Partnership for a New American Economy concluded that immigrants make a substantial contribution to the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund -- putting more into the system than they take out. Also in the news, the Center for Public Integrity examines how Medicare Advantage plans may routinely overbill the health insurance program for older Americans.

NBC News: Immigrants Contributed Over $182 Billion to Medicare: Report
Immigrants have helped pay the nation's bills, at least when it comes to health care, according to a new report. Immigrants contributed over $182 billion to Medicare's Hospital Insurance Trust Fund between 1996 and 2011, according to a study released by the Partnership for a New American Economy, a group which advocates for immigration reform. The study found during that same 15-year period, U.S.-born citizens produced a $68.7 billion deficit for the same fund. On average, immigrants to the U.S. contributed over $11 billion more to the fund than was spent on their care (Passy, 8/6).

The Washington Post's Wonkblog: Why Immigrants Are The Best Thing That Happened To Medicare
The reason lies mostly in one simple fact: Immigrants are much younger on average than the overall American populace, and younger people don't go to the doctor (or hospital, in this instance) nearly as often. By 2030, there will be more than 400 seniors to every 1,000 working-age adults in the U.S., according to estimates by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. For immigrants that number will be much lower (pdf), largely because Latinos, the fastest growing immigrant group in the country, pose a significantly lower financial risk, because of their relative age and health (Ferdman, 8/6).

Center for Public Integrity: How Medicare Advantage Plans Code For Cash
A new federal study shows that many Medicare Advantage health plans routinely overbill the government for treating elderly patients -; and have gotten away with doing it for years. Analyzing government data never before made public, Department of Health and Human Services researchers found that many plans exaggerate how sick their patients are and how much they cost to treat. Medicare expects to pay the privately run plans -; an alternative to traditional Medicare -; some $160 billion this year (Schulte, 8/7).

And, in other news, Modern Healthcare tracks developments related to Medicare's 3-Day rule --

Modern Healthcare: Medicare Offers Waiver of 3-Day Rule for Some ACOs, Bundled Payments
The average number of days that patients spend hospitalized has gradually declined, as medicine and technology improve and policymakers pressure hospitals for more efficiency. That trend, however, is at odds with Medicare rules in place since that program began requiring a three-day hospital stay before the CMS will pay for skilled-nursing care. But now the CMS is offering a waiver of the controversial rule for hospitals participating in two alternative payment and delivery initiatives under the Affordable Care Act-;the Medicare Pioneer accountable care organization program and bundled payments (Evans, 8/6).


http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

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