HHS hints at major changes to Medicare that could mean higher costs for patients


WASHINGTON — The Trump administration is signaling it will pursue significant changes to Medicare that could put beneficiaries on the hook for higher costs.

In an informal proposal on Wednesday, federal health officials hinted at several new pilot programs it may implement in the months ahead. One idea would give doctors more latitude to enter into so-called private contracts to charge Medicare beneficiaries more for certain services, if the patients were willing to pay.

Elsewhere in the document, officials indicated they might offer more incentives to encourage beneficiaries to join private Medicare plans, known as Medicare Advantage plans. Democrats and other experts said the language suggested interest in the controversial “premium support” model long favored by Republican policymakers.

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