Medicare Advantage Changes for 2011by Denise Early on Jun. 08, 2010, under Health
The deadline for Medicare Advantage plans to submit their 2011 plan details was yesterday, June 7th. CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid) will review all 2,000+ plans and may ask plans to revise certain cost sharing and/or premium increases. CMS can reject plan proposals entirely.
A number of changes for Medicare Advantage plans were included in the Affordable Health Care Act that was passed earlier this year. It will be interesting to see how insurance companies design their plans in response to changes such as:
–All Medicare Advantage plans must cap enrollees’ annual out-of-pocket costs.
–Cost sharing for services such as durable medical equipment and Part B drugs cannot be higher than what Medicare requires of patients.
–Payments from Medicare to Medicare Advantage plans will be the same amount as in 2010, even though the cost of providing medical services may have increased for the plans.
Congressional Democrats sent a letter to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, asking her to use her authority to prevent insurance companies from jacking up monthly premiums and cost sharing for the 11 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans.
The letter said, ”To promote stability in the program, the health reform legislation protected 2011 plan payment rates and took care to phase in future payment changes to minimize disruption. Any effort by MA plans to increase beneficiary premiums or reduce benefits next year should be carefully evaluated in light of these payment protections”.
Senator Rockefeller of West Virginia commented that, “Seniors on fixed incomes shouldn’t be subjected to exorbitant health care premium increases…..and….The Federal Government must continue to crack down on the unscrupulous practices of private health insurers.”
The review process for Medicare Advantage plans is done behind closed doors, so insurance agents and the public won’t know the outcome until October, when insurance companies release their plan details.
NEXT POST: Do Medicare Advantage plans cherry pick healthier seniors?