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Video: Medicare Advantage Plans 2011
Medicare Advantage Grows; But Not Without Government Help
The net result, encouraging more plans to compete in the Medicare market, is not actually in the best interest of seniors. In a study published last month in Health Affairs, researchers found that too many choices with too little guidance can be overwhelming for Medicare enrollees, especially the growing proportion that is experiencing cognitive difficulties. “Our study suggests that the Medicare Advantage program presents an overabundance of choices for many elderly beneficiaries,” the researchers write. “Medicare Advantage plans currently compete for enrollees through the benefits they offer and the premiums they charge, but elderly beneficiaries with low cognitive function were not responsive to changes in these features.” The implication, according to Health Affairs, is that these “unresponsive” seniors may buy into plans not well suited to their needs, allowing private insurers to profit “by offering less-generous coverage or reducing benefits while still attracting or retaining enrollees with limited cognitive abilities.”
Kaiser Permanente’s Medicare Plan Website Recognized as a Benchmark for Excellence
About Kaiser Permanente Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 9 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.
Daily Kos: New Obama (Web) Ad Strikes Back Hard on Medicare
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Ryan’s “premium support” proposal for Medicare: Myths and facts
2. Myth: Expanding private plans in Medicare will reduce Medicare’s costs. Fact: Private Medicare Advantage plans have raised Medicare costs. Private insurers profit by selectively enrolling the healthy and shunning the sick, as documented in a New England Journal of Medicine article subtitled “The healthy go in and the sick go out.” Hence, they collect premiums paid by the Medicare program, and provide little care. As a result, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that Medicare Advantage plans cost Medicare 12 percent more per enrollee than the traditional program. New research from the National Bureau of Economic Research indicates that the true cost of private plans to Medicare may be much higher than the CBO estimate. Since Medicare launched a new risk adjustment scheme based on 70 diagnostic codes in 2004, overpayments to private plans have increased dramatically and accounted for $30 billion in excess spending, or 8 percent of total Medicare spending, in 2006 alone. Since then the overpayments have likely risen as the proportion of Medicare recipients in private plans has jumped from 16 percent to 24 percent.
Five Undeniable Facts about Ryan’s Medicare Reform Plan
5. It gets the economic incentives right. By providing a set amount of money for each Medicare beneficiary’s health care coverage, the Ryan plan starts a process of encouraging seniors to ask where they get the best value for their health care dollar—just as we all do in every other sector of the economy. That change will create a new dynamic in Medicare that will increase competition, lower costs and improve quality—the missing links to preserving and strengthening Medicare.
The Paul Ryan Budget Plan: What Does it Really Mean for Healthcare and Safety Net Programs?
Converting Medicare into a system of vouchers that could be used to purchase private insurance in a competitive market. The subsidy amount would vary by enrollees’ age, income, and health status, and would increase over time as the enrollee gets older. Yet, it would increase at a slower rate than the projected growth in healthcare spending costs, potentially leaving seniors on the hook for a rising share of their medical care over time. Ryan’s budget would also gradually raise the Medicare age from 65 to 67. These changes would be phased in over coming years so that current beneficiaries and Americans now over age 55 would not be affected. Ryan’s budget also maintains $716 billion in cuts to Medicare that were included in the health reform law. The ACA reduced overpayments to Medicare Advantage plans (which are currently paid more than their actual costs of providing services), phased down the federal payments that help hospitals provide uncompensated care to the uninsured, and established a variety of adjustments to improve payment accuracy.