More Evidence that Medicare Advantage Cuts are Hurting Seniors

Medicare Advantage payments for 2014 were cut by 6.5 percent – resulting in higher costs, reduced benefits, and fewer choices for seniors in the program.

  • AP:  “Plan changes are starting to crystallize for Medicare Advantage customers… Benefits experts say patients are seeing fewer plan choices this year, and more are losing doctors from their insurance coverage networks.”
  • Avalere: “The multitude of payment changes for MA plans under the ACA are taking root and starting to broadly impact the number and types of plans available in the market.”
  • Kaiser Family Foundation: “About 526,000 of current 2013 Medicare Advantage enrollees (5%) will have to make some change because their plan is not available in 2014… Enrollees who stay with their current plan (if available) will find that, on average, their premiums will increase by almost $5, from $35 to $39.”
  • CQ: “Insurers squeezed by the health law could be bumping up costs for Medicare enrollees who get their coverage through private plans… The law calls for reductions in payments to Medicare Advantage plans and for the addition of new taxes on insurance plans in 2014… However, cuts are beginning to deepen. Plans may adjust by shifting costs to their enrollees or tightening their networks of doctors and other providers.”
  • WSJ Editorial: “For 2014, the defined-contribution subsidies that allow seniors to choose a private health plan plunge by about 5% to 9% depending on the county, and those cuts are starting to bite….next year’s Advantage offerings feature higher premiums and worse benefits, as well as insurers that are competing in fewer markets and shrinking their physician networks.”
  • Tampa Bay Times: “With just two weeks before the annual Medicare enrollment period ends, some seniors are finding hundreds of Tampa area doctors and H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center may no longer be covered under their privately-run Medicare Advantage insurance plans… Many seniors don’t realize that insurance companies are looking to cut costs because the government reimbursement rates for Advantage plans are decreasing…”
  • New York Daily News: “Due to reductions in funding under the law, the Medicare Advantage programs, in which Medicare provides money for private insurers to cover seniors, have quietly started to cancel the contracts of providers to save money…the havoc it is wrecking on Medicare Advantage patients and their providers has been barely noticed”
  • Forbes: “Some retirees enrolled in Medicare Advantage will need to find new doctors. And it’s a trend that could accelerate in future years… The private insurers who supply Medicare Advantage plans…have been responding to the cuts by squeezing out inefficiencies in the way they deliver care.”
  • USA Today: “This open season also will have 142 fewer Medicare Advantage plans, the private plans that are an alternative to traditional Medicare fee-for-service coverage….That’s a 5.3% decrease.”
  • New Jersey Star-Ledger:  “There are changes coming to some Medicare Advantage plans as well, which are due, in part, to the new law….notices to 50,000 of its New Jersey members explaining to seniors that their current plans will not be available next year….One reason for the change is that Obamacare cut about $200 billion from the Medicare Advantage program, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service.”
  • KCRG Radio in Cedar Rapids, IA: “More than 9,200 Iowans, many of them in rural areas of the state, will need to select another Medicare Advantage plan beginning Oct. 15 or risk losing coverage on Jan. 1, 2014.”
  • Politico:  “The pay cuts to private Medicare plans under Obamacare are starting to take their toll, according to a new analysis from Avalere Health. The number of offerings that will be available to seniors in 2014 fell 5 percent, according to the report.”
  • The Oregonian:Yet some Medicare Advantage providers are coping with rising costs – some they say are imposed by health reform – by boosting out-of-pocket maximums and co-pays. There could be other changes in your plan, too, such as fewer covered medications.”
  • Forbes: Even after facing steep cuts under Obamacare, the Advantage plans are now slated to take a brand new round of reductions in 2015… Combined with these other cuts mandated by Obamacare, the Medicare Advantage plans are looking at significant reductions…”

AHIP’s Coalition for Medicare Choices (CMC) recently launched its largest-ever mobilization to remind Washington that seniors are following this issue closely and to urge the Medicare agency to protect them from further harm by maintaining current payment levels in 2015. The campaign includes television, digital, print, and display advertising in key markets around the country and in Washington, D.C. and grassroots mobilization of CMC’s 1.5 million Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. Seniors will see the impact of any new payment cuts in late October 2014, when they begin enrolling in their 2015 Medicare Advantage coverage.

To learn more, visit www.MedicareChoices.org and follow the coalition on Twitter (@ProtectMyMA) and Facebook.

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