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Supercommittee Evaluates Medicare-Medicaid Dual Eligibles

The Congressional supercommittee is taking a look at Medicare-Medicaid "dual eligibles," those patients who are covered by both governmental insurance programs, according to a USA Today report.

State Medicaid directors and health insurance trade groups are asking the supercommittee to allow states to mandate that most or all dual eligibles instead enroll in private plans that can closely manage their health.

Patients over the age of 65 who also report a low enough income can be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. As a group, dual eligibles cost states and federal governments a combined $300 billion annually. They comprise 16 percent of Medicare enrollees but account for 27 percent of its spending. They also make up 15 percent of Medicaid beneficiaries but account for 39 percent of its spending.

Dual eligibles are covered by Medicare for basic acute-care services, such as physician, hospital and prescription drug costs. Medicaid pays for long-term care in nursing homes and other facilities.

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