Federal Officials Tout Benefits of Private Medicare Coverage
CMS officials on Monday held a press briefing to provide information about private Medicare Advantage fee-for-service plans in advance of a House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing on the plans scheduled for Tuesday, CongressDaily reports.
The Congressional Budget Office has reported that MA fee-for-service plans receive some of the largest overpayments among MA plans, and subcommittee Chair Pete Stark (D-Calif.) has said that lawmakers could use reductions in reimbursements to the plans to finance an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program.
At the briefing, acting CMS Administrator Leslie Norwalk and agency Center for Beneficiary Choices Director Abby Block released data that indicate reductions in reimbursements to MA plans would result in a loss of reimbursements for most counties nationwide (Johnson, CongressDaily, 5/21).
The data also indicate that 59% of Medicare beneficiaries in rural areas who are enrolled in MA plans have fee-for-service plans, in part because other MA plans often are unavailable in those areas.
Norwalk and Block said that MA fee-for-service plans also benefit employers because they allow them to enroll retirees in a single nationwide plan. Norwalk and Block added that MA fee-for-service plans have cost advantages over traditional Medicare.
For example, 77% of MA fee-for-service plans provide unlimited coverage for inpatient care, and 68% require Medicare beneficiaries to pay $1,000 or less for a 90-day hospital stay, they said (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 5/21).