Friday, September 16, 2011

Medicare Advantage Premiums To Fall 4% In 2012 - Kaiser Health News

Medicare Advantage Premiums To Fall 4% In 2012 - Kaiser Health News

Medicare Advantage Premiums To Fall 4% In 2012
Topics: Medicare, Health Reform
Sep 16, 2011
As premium costs fell, enrollment rose – despite dire predictions from opponents of the 2010 health law that the overhaul would cause enrollment to drop while forcing the cost of premiums to increase.
USA Today: Medicare Premiums Drop, Enrollment Rises In Health Care LawMedicare Advantage premiums fell while enrollment rose this year, despite predictions from opponents of last year's federal health care law that it would drive down enrollment and force up premiums. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) officials said Thursday that enrollment will rise another 10 percent more in 2012 and that premiums will fall 4 percent. Extra benefits in some Medicare Advantage plans, such as for vision or hearing, also are expected to remain the same (Kennedy, 9/16).
The Associated Press: Medicare Advantage Premiums Dip, Enrollment RisingTurning a usually routine announcement into a pointed rebuttal of its GOP critics, the Obama administration said Thursday that premiums for popular Medicare Advantage insurance plans will drop for 2012, while enrollment is expected to rise. That's welcome news for President Barack Obama and Democrats, who are struggling with older voters ahead of a hard-fought election looming next year. Democrats have accused Obama of undermining Medicare to finance his health care overhaul. Indeed, during this week's GOP presidential debate, Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann claimed the president "stole" from Medicare to pay for his plan (Alonso-Zaldivar, 9/15).
Kaiser Health News: Medicare Advantage Premiums To Fall 4% Next YearKaiser Health News staff writer Phil Galewitz, working in collaboration with The Washington Post, reports: "Dire predictions by insurers and Republicans that the 2010 health law would cause private Medicare health plans to raise prices and lower benefits on beneficiaries have turned out to be a false alarm — at least for now. The Obama administration on Thursday said the nearly 12 million senior citizens enrolled in Medicare health plans will see their monthly premiums drop by an average of 4 percent while benefits remain stable next year. In addition, they said, premiums fell by an average of 7 percent, much higher than the 1 percent the government projected a year ago" (Galewitz, 9/15).
Modern Healthcare: Advantage Premiums Fall; Enrollment Seen Rising Medicare Advantage premiums will decline slightly next year and enrollment is expected to increase by 10 percent, according to HHS. Premiums for Medicare Advantage, which HHS says is available to 99.7 percent of Medicare beneficiaries, will be 4 percent lower in 2012 compared with 2011, according to an agency news release. HHS also said that it is the second year in a row that premiums for Medicare Advantage plans have declined (Lee, 9/15).
CQ HealthBeat: HHS Officials: 2012 Medicare Advantage Premiums To Fall, Enrollment Will RiseFederal officials say the fact that Medicare Advantage premiums will go down on average by 4 percent next year and that enrollment is projected to go up by 10 percent proves that the naysayers were wrong when they said the health care overhaul would mean the end of these managed-care plans. "We can say with complete accuracy that despite projections in 2010 that the program will decline, that this year the program has grown," Jonathan Blum, deputy administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said in a conference call with reporters (Bunis, 9/15).
Politico Pro: HHS: MA Premiums To Decline 4 PercentMedicare Advantage premiums will decline 4 percent on average in 2012, while Part D premiums will decline slightly, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and CMS Deputy Administrator Jonathan Blum announced in a call with reporters Thursday morning. In addition, Blum said that they are expecting a 10 percent enrollment increase in the Medicare Advantage plan — boosting its enrollment to the highest level ever. That projection is based on bids CMS has already received from plan issuers (Feder, 9/15).
The Hill: Enrollment Jumps, Easing Fears Health Care Would Kill Private PlansThe new projections offer the clearest evidence yet that concerns that the health care reform law would destroy private Medicare plans might have been premature. The Congressional Budget Office projected two years ago that the law's $200 billion in cuts to the program would cause enrollment to drop from more than 11 million to 7.5 million by 2018 (Pecquet, 9/15).
This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.

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