‘Buyer Beware’ When Choosing a Medicare+Choice Plan, Fresno Bee Says
Noting that managed care organizations choosing to remain in the Medicare+Choice program are raising premiums and reducing benefits, a Fresno Bee editorial urges seniors to take a closer look at their Medicare options. While MCOs "used to fall over one another seeking to lure more seniors with ever-better benefits," lower federal reimbursements, rising costs and an increased emphasis on the "bottom line" have led many health plans to withdraw from the Medicare+Choice program or scale down their policies, according to the editorial. Some health plans, for instance, have "sliced back" their prescription drug coverage, the "key HMO benefit" not covered by traditional Medicare. The editorial urges seniors to consider "whether to try an HMO at all," as traditional Medicare offers a "wider choice of doctors and hospitals." For those who favor Medicare+Choice, the editorial advises seniors to "do some comparison shopping" and find a plan that "stretches their dollar the furthest." It concludes: "Health care remains the most personal of decisions, and with these never-ending changes, an ever more difficult one. The right Medicare choice for last year may not be so for the next one. Buyer beware" (Fresno Bee, 10/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.