Saturday, October 3, 2009

The "Modest" Cuts of Medicare Advantage - just special interests AGAIN

Since 2007, during his campaign, President Obama has been railing AGAINST Medicare Advantage. This Medicare supplement was created for seniors to have better benefits and more choices through private options. Currently, 20%, 1 in 5, of all Medicare recipients have Med. Adv. will incredible positive results1: patients stay in the hospital 18 days less than Medicare patients, 27% fewer visits to the ER, and a 42% lower re-admission rate to the hospital.

The enhanced benefits focus on reduce out-of-pocket costs, coverages for prescriptions, wellness programs, disease management and care coordination programs. All of the preachings on preventative care, reduction of costs to the individual and quality seem to been missed by the Democrats promoting the current bills.

We don't know what the final bill will entail, but the House Bill (HR 3200) cuts $172 billion and the Max Baucus Senate bill cuts $113 billion from Medicare Advantage.

"If you like your insurance, you can keep it" -- unless you have Medicare Advantage. The NY Times is practicing more irresponsible journalism:

"Although Republican rhetoric has triggered fears that Medicare Advantage enrollees might lose their coverage entirely if private plans drop out of the system, the real effect of the bill would likely be modest on average." while stating the truth elsewhere: "The value of an enrollee's added benefits would shrink by more than half from current levels but would not disappear; they would still be worth about $500 a year in 2019.

Your benefits WILL shrink to half and that's descibed by the NY Times as "MODEST on the average."

Humana launched a major campaign to inform patients and encourage them to speak out against this reform. Medicare responded with an intense investigation2 into the claim "millions of seniors and disabled individuals could lose many of the important benefits and services that make Medicare Advantage health plans so valuable" -- the exact thing that the NY Times has confirmed, but described as modest.

So why is AARP so supportive of this reform? Maybe this is because AARP offers Medigap - a competitor to Medicare Advantage(MA).

When you have MA you don't need Medigap. Preventative care, eye exams and hearing aids are all extra benefits through MA so Medigap (i.e. AARP) is losing revenue. Irony compounds irony as the majority of MA recipients are poor blacks and hispanics - the same folks Democrats and the President claim to protect.

Special interest politics...hmmf, are any of us surprised?

I'm not.



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