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Video: Understanding Medicare Advantage Plans
Uwe Reinhardt explains the complexities in pricing of Medicare Advantage plans
Congress should stop wasting our public funds in these efforts to push us into private plans. If they took the same public and private funds already being spent and used those to improve the benefits of the traditional Medicare program (especially reducing cost sharing and capping out-of-pocket spending), then we would have an even better Medicare program. In fact, it could become the basis of the Improved Medicare for All that many of us long for but has remained elusive to a large extent because of the elevated stature that the private insurance industry holds in the Halls of Congress.
Uwe E. Reinhard: The Complexities of Comparing Medicare Choices
Each private plan would have had to offer a benefit package that covered at least the actuarial equivalent of the benefit package provided by the traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Medicare’s contribution (or “premium support”) to the full premium for any of these choices, including traditional Medicare, would have been equal to the “second-least-expensive approved plan or fee-for-service Medicare” in the beneficiary’s county, whichever was least expensive. That premium support payment would have been adjusted upward for the poor and the sick and downward for the wealthy.
Research Roundup: Medicare Advantage Plan Beneficiaries May Get More Appropriate Services; CHIP Participation Grows
Urban Institute/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation: Medicaid/CHIP Participation Among Children And Parents – “Despite the economic downturn, most states have maintained or expanded Medicaid and CHIP for children, by expanding eligibility to higher income and immigrant children, undertaking enrollment and retention simplifications, and implementing new policy options,” the authors wrote about coverage rates between 2008 and 2010. The rate of eligible children participating in Medicaid or CHIP grew to 86 percent nationwide and the number of eligible children who were not insured fell by 500,000 in that time, the study found. Participation rates for eligible parents were lower, however. The authors conclude that the 2009 law designed to improve participation of children in the program “may have contributed to increased take-up for Medicaid/CHIP among children, but that additional efforts will be needed, particularly among parents, to achieve high levels of Medicaid enrollment under the Affordable Care Act ACA” (Kenney et al., 12/3).
What is the Cadillac Medicare Advantage plan
A plan’s network of providers: People often think Medicare Advantage plans are only offered as part of healthcare management organizations (HMOs), but many are also preferred provider organizations (PPOs). With HMOs and PPOs, insurance companies typically have a list doctors, specialists and hospitals that are preferred so when you go to those providers, you presumably pay a lower price for care. Either that, or the insurer covers more of your out of pocket costs, or both. Your costs typically differ if you get “in network” care versus “out of network” care. You’re more likely to think of a plan that includes your doctors, specialists and hospitals at a lower price to be a Cadillac plan.
Medicare Advantage 2013 Spotlight: Plan Availability and Premiums
This data spotlight report examines trends in the Medicare Advantage marketplace, including the choices available to Medicare beneficiaries in 2013, premium levels and other plan features. It finds almost all plans offered this year will be available again in 2013, despite concerns that reductions in payments to plans under the Affordable Care Act would result in widespread pullouts from Medicare Advantage plans. If all beneficiaries choose to remain in their current plans, monthly premiums would increase about 10 percent, or $4, on average. The analysis also examines the types of plans available (HMOs, PPOs, etc.), changes in out-of-pocket limits, and the availability of special needs plans.
Health Plans Providing Value to Medicare Advantage Beneficiaries
Health plans are working with seniors and people with disabilities in Medicare Advantage plans to ensure that beneficiaries receive health care services on a timely basis, while also emphasizing prevention and providing access to disease management services for their chronic conditions. These coordinated care systems provide for the seamless delivery of health care services across the continuum of care. Physician services, hospital care, prescription drugs, and other health care services are integrated and delivered through an organized system whose overriding purpose is to prevent illness, improve health status, and employ best practices to swiftly treat medical conditions as they occur, rather than waiting until they have advanced to a more serious level.
When Can I Get Out of My Medicare Advantage Plan?
First and foremost, you should apply for the supplement plan with either a February 1 or March 1 effective date. Approval on a Medigap policy can take 2-3 weeks to complete underwriting. So it is important to do this well in advance of when you want the plan to start. For example, if you want to make the changeover effective 2/1/13, apply early in January for the supplement (or even during the last couple weeks of December). Once your Medigap plan is approved, you can proceed with returning to Medicare with a Part D plan. The easiest way to do this is to call Medicare (1-800-MEDICARE) and select a Part D plan, while at the same time disenrolling from your Medicare Advantage plan. You cannot have both a Part D plan and a Medicare Advantage plan, so this changeover can be done within the same phone call. Make the changeover effective either 2/1/13 (if doing it in January) or 3/1/13 (if doing it between 2/1 and 2/14).
What’s the Right Medicare Advantage Plan for You, Part 1
A good place to help determine the right plan for you is www.medicare.gov. There’s a Plan Compare section where you can see how all of the Medicare plans stack up against each other. Once you fill in your personal information, applicable plans will be listed. You can even fill in all of your current prescriptions to determine what your annual drug cost would be with each plan. You can filter your search by several factors: monthly premium, annual drug deductible, drug options, plan ratings, coverage options, special needs plans and plans by company.
Health First Health Plans Offers Medicare Advantage Plans
At Health First Health Plans, eligible beneficiaries can choose from a suite of Medicare options, including four Medicare Advantage plans with Part D Prescription Drug coverage (MA-PD), one Medicare Advantage Plan without Part D prescription drug coverage (MA), two stand-alone Prescription Drug Plans (PDP), and Supplemental Plans (Medigap). Typically, you may enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan only during the annual enrollment period from October 15 through December 7 of each year. There are exceptions that may allow you to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan outside of this period (otherwise known as Special Election Periods).