5:00 am
Thu May 29, 2014

KC Checkup: Five Questions For Pam Seymour

Pam Seymour is executive director of Shepard's Center of KC Central.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

The older you get, the more complicated and expensive health care becomes. A study from the National Institutes of Health shows that half the money that’s spent on Americans’ health is spent on care after age 65.

That’s why changes to the health system – like the Affordable Care Act and Medicare reform — can be especially concerning to older people.

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7:39 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Kansas City Physicians Take The Accountable Care Approach

Clay Platte Family Medicine Clinic physician Scott Kuennen examines Medicare patient Alma Bradbury.
Credit Alex Smith / KCUR

Changes to insurance have been getting all the headlines, but the Affordable Care Act aims to change the way doctors operate as well.

The federal law offers incentives for health providers to work together to keep Medicare patients healthy in hopes of saving money. Whether this approach can actually create savings is still unclear, and many doctors remain skeptical. But in Kansas City, a few doctors are teaming up.

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9:47 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Kansas Seniors Warned About Medicare Scams

The open enrollment period for Medicare prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans got underway Monday.  The Kansas Insurance Department says people need to be alert for potential scams.

The concern is heightened this year because the Medicare signup period coincides with the opening of the insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.

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8:10 am
Tue October 15, 2013

As Medicare Enrollment Opens, Health Exchanges Confusing Some Seniors

The annual enrollment period for Medicare's prescription drug coverage and privatized Medicare Advantage plans is now open. It's the one time of year when people can make changes to their coverage without being penalized.

This year, many senior citizens have been confused. The enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act started just two weeks ago. Many people are under the mistaken impression that they need to sign up for coverage on the exchange, even though they have Medicare. 

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10:00 am
Fri August 30, 2013

Study: Predictions Of Health Care 'Rate Shock' Are Unfounded

A new study from a non-profit research group says predictions of huge premium increases when the Affordable Care Act goes into effect in January are unfounded. 

Kansas is one of 10 states the Rand Corporation studied in detail. The study predicts that by 2016, only 6.6 percent of Kansans too young for Medicare will be uninsured. Without the new law, that figure would be more than 14 percent. 

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8:11 am
Fri July 5, 2013

Controversial Medicare Bid Program Takes Next Step

Many diabetics use testing strips daily to test their blood sugar.
Credit cogdogblog / Flickr--Creative Commons

Medicare patients who have diabetic testing supplies delivered to them experienced some changes this week.

It’s all part of an effort by the Medicare program to save money and cut down on fraud. But some people are worried about unintended consequences.

A public services announcement issued by Medicare attempts to lay out the changes for diabetic Medicare recipients:

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8:21 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Medicare Summary Notices Redesigned To Fight Fraud

The Medicare Summary Notice senior citizens receive every month has been redesigned. The changes are meant to make it easier to spot fraudulent claims.

As part of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, the federal government has devoted new resources to rooting out fraud, waste, and abuse in the Medicare program. The notice beneficiaries receive each month to explain their claims is being upgraded to make it easier to spot claims for services they never received.

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10:10 am
Fri April 12, 2013

Medicare Competitive Bidding Program Expands To Wichita

A competitive bidding program aimed at helping Medicare avoid overpaying for products like scooters, diabetic testing supplies, and oxygen tanks is being expanded to 91 communities nationwide, including Wichita. 

The program began a little more than two years ago as a demonstration project in nine communities, including Kansas City. 

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10:06 am
Mon December 24, 2012

Top Of The Morning News: December 24, 2012

Gun shows, Missouri Medicaid expansion & more: Your morning news from KCUR.

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5:24 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

Looking For A Doc? Local Group Compiles Physician Data

Kansas City will soon know more about the quality of primary care in the region.

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12:32 pm
Fri September 28, 2012

Area Hospitals Soon To Be Penalized For High Readmissions Rates

KU Hospital started piloting regular "huddles" within departments last year, to try and better coordinate patient care and the discharge process. The hospital is one of several in the area that will soon face fines for high readmissions rates.
Elana Gordon KCUR

Starting October 1, hospitals that fail to meet certain quality measures will get less funding from Medicare.

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4:30 pm
Fri August 3, 2012

Medicare Recipients Urged To Guard Against Phone Scam

State officials are warning Kansas senior citizens not to fall for a telephone scam aimed at Medicare beneficiaries. 

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Shots - Health Blog
2:32 am
Tue April 24, 2012

If The Health Care Overhaul Goes Down, Could Medicare Follow?

Originally published on Tue April 24, 2012 4:18 am

A growing number of health experts are warning of potential collateral damage if the Supreme Court strikes down the entire 2010 Affordable Care Act: potential chaos in the Medicare program.

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Shots - Health Blog
3:36 pm
Tue April 17, 2012

Seniors In Medicare 'Doughnut Hole' More Likely To Stop Heart Drugs

Falling into the "doughnut hole" of Medicare drug coverage led people to stop taking medicines more often than to search for cheaper alternatives.

Medicare patients who reach the annual gap in coverage for prescription drugs known as the "doughnut hole" are 57 percent more likely than those with continuous insurance coverage to stop taking drugs for heart-related conditions such as high blood pressure or heart disease.

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Shots - Health Blog
7:46 am
Tue April 3, 2012

Medicare Boosting Coverage For Mental Health Issues

Medicare coverage for mental health services will reach 80 percent in 2014.

Medicare coverage for people with depression used to be, well, depressing. But that's starting to change.

In October, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began covering screening for depression without any cost-sharing when Medicare beneficiaries visit their primary care doctor.

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6:42 am
Mon December 5, 2011

Top of the Morning News: Monday, December 5, 2012

President Barack Obama

Obama in Osawatomie; Riding with Teddy Roosevelt

The president is coming to Osawatomie, Ks. because of a speech given there more than 100 years ago. Teddy Roosevelt delivered a speech in 1910 that called for a "New Nationalism", and defended the government's role in regulating the economy, defending human welfare and property rights. Whitehouse deputy press secretary Josh Earnest says Obama will channel Roosevelt.  Frank Morris has more of the story.

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11:29 pm
Sun December 4, 2011

Medicare Enrollment Period Nears End; Schemes Reported

People typically have until the end of this month to enroll in or make changes to their Medicare plans. But this year's deadline is in two days.

"Midnight, December 7th," says Carol Behan, director of CLAIM, Missouri's free Medicare counseling program.

Behan says people often don't take advantage of this enrollment period for Medicare Part D prescription drug plans. People may not have to change anything, she says, but they might save money if they compare their premiums and deductibles of the different plans.

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12:39 pm
Thu December 16, 2010

Competitive Bids in Medicare Coming to KC: Overdue Or Oversold?

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12:09 pm
Thu December 2, 2010

Lowered Costs, Better Care Possible: Medicare Chief Visits KC

Kansas City, MO – Major problems exist when it comes to health in the U.S...whether it be fragmented care or preventable diseases. That's according to Dr. Donald Berwick, head of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Dr. Berwick shared these concerns with area health leaders on a stop in Kansas City yesterday. But as KCUR's Elana Gordon reports, Dr. Berwick said major improvements are also possible right now.


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11:16 am
Tue June 15, 2010

Scammers Target Medicare Rebate Checks

Jefferson City, MO – Elderly Missourians who qualify for $250 rebate checks from Medicare are being warned to watch out for scam artists.

The checks that are being mailed out are legitimate, but seniors who receive them may be targeted by con artists. State Attorney General Chris Koster says recipients should not give out their personal information to anyone calling to ask for it.

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