Kaiser Permanente to Lower Seniors’ Premiums in Five Counties
A recent increase in federal Medicare funding will enable Kaiser Permanente to lower Senior Advantage members' monthly premiums in Fresno, Kings, Madera, Mariposa and Tulare counties, the Fresno Bee reports. Premiums will drop from $50 to $40 beginning March 1, and benefits will stay the same. Kaiser officials said they could lower premiums because of an $11 billion infusion of federal money for the Medicare+Choice program, passed by Congress in December. Kaiser Permanente began charging the $50 premium last year to make up for a shortfall created by low Medicare reimbursement rates in those counties. Fresno County reimbursement rates are expected to "jump" from $438 per moth to $525 per month March 1 as a result of the additional Medicare funds. Kaiser Permanente's 17,000 Senior Advantage members will be notified of the changes in letters that will be sent out next week. David DeButts, Kaiser's Fresno-area spokesperson, said, "We are pleased to announce this change. We want to pass along this premium reduction to our members as soon as possible" (Correa, Fresno Bee, 2/3).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.