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Health Care Government reverses plan to cut Medicare Advantage rate

Government reverses plan to cut Medicare Advantage rate

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Robert Francis
Robert is a Fort Worth native and longtime editor of the Fort Worth Business Press. He is a former president of the local Society of Professional Journalists and was a freelancer for a variety of newspapers, weeklies and magazines, including American Way, BrandWeek and InformatonWeek. A graduate of TCU, Robert has held a variety of writing and editing positions at publications such as the Grand Prairie Daily News and InfoWorld. He is also a musician and playwright.

By Jen Christensen

CNN) — The federal government has reversed a proposed cut that could have left millions who get their health insurance through the Medicare Advantage plan paying more for coverage.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced Monday the final Medicare Advantage rates for 2014.

CMS had initially proposed a 2.3% reduction in what the government pays the insurance companies that provide the plans — a move that would have saved the government money but potentially would cost the public more.

However, CMS on Monday announced a 3.3% increase instead.

Insurance companies were upset by the proposed cut, and spent the public comment period time lobbying legislators and running ads against it.

Ads from the America’s Health Insurance Plans’ Coalition for Medicare Choices called the proposal “drastic” and “too much” and featured seniors saying they can’t afford to pay more for health care.

About 25% of the 47 million Americans on Medicare pay more to have Medicare Advantage. The plans are run by private insurance companies that are reimbursed by the government for doing so.

The plans vary, but they offer the elderly more than they would get with regular Medicare. Most plans offer prescription drug coverage; some also offer dental and vision. All the plans cap a person’s out-of-pocket expenses, while regular Medicare does not.

Seniors won’t know what their out-of-pocket costs will be until the fall, when insurance companies put in their bids for government work.


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