CHCF Finds Out-of-Pocket Expenses for California Medicare+Choice Beneficiaries Can Cost Thousands of Dollars
The California HealthCare Foundation this month released a fact sheet that examines out-of-pocket expenses for Medicare+Choice beneficiaries in the state. According to the fact sheet, out-of-pocket expenses, which include monthly premiums, copayments and deductibles, can "exceed thousands of dollars" per year for Medicare+Choice beneficiaries in California. The fact sheet also found:
- In urban areas of California, 97% of Medicare beneficiaries have access to a Medicare+Choice plan, compared to 75% nationwide. However, only 12% of California Medicare beneficiaries in rural counties have access to a Medicare+Choice plan, compared to 13% nationwide.
- Forty-five percent of California Medicare beneficiaries have access to "zero-premium plans," compared to 32% nationwide. However, 12 of the 13 zero-premium plans only serve residents in four California counties. Los Angeles County, home to only 25% of the state's Medicare beneficiaries, has six zero-premium plans.
- More than 50% of Medicare+Choice beneficiaries nationwide pay less than $30 per month in premiums, while only about 35% of California Medicare+Choice beneficiaries pay less than $30 per month in premiums. In addition, more than 40% of California seniors enrolled in Medicare+Choice plans will pay $50 or more in premiums per month.
- The 12 California counties that offer only one Medicare+Choice plan do not offer plans with premiums less than $50 per month. Premiums in the 12 counties range from $60 to $80 per month. However, about 60% of Medicare+Choice beneficiaries in counties that offer more than one Medicare+Choice plan pay less than $50 in premiums per month ("Trends and Analysis of Medicare: Managed Care Plan Out-of-Pocket Expenses in 2002," CHCF release, February 2002).
To view the CHCF fact sheet online, go to http://admin.chcf.org/documents/medicare/MedicareTrends2.pdf. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the fact sheet.
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