Research Shows Health Plans Raising Premiums for Medicare Advantage
As President Obama's administration prepares to overhaul the nation's health care system, Medicare Advantage plans are raising premiums by 13% on average, according to an analysis by Avalere Health, Bloomberg/Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Humana, Health Net and almost 200 other health insurance providers in 2009 on average increased premiums more than five times more than they did in 2008, according to the analysis (Goldstein, Bloomberg/Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/5).
In January, Democrats, led by then-President-elect Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), signaled their intent to "scale back" the MA program.
In a television interview, Obama cited MA as an example of "programs that don't work," adding that it "doesn't necessarily make people on Medicare healthier."
Congressional Democrats have pledged to cut $50 billion in federal subsidies to the MA program, which offers private health insurance plans to more than 10 million of the 45 million Medicare beneficiaries.
MA cost the government 13% more per beneficiary on average than the regular Medicare plan in 2008, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (California Healthline, 1/15).Arnold Relman, former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, said the premium increases, which are charged directly to beneficiaries instead of the government, are evidence that insurers' aims for profit are raising patient expenses and reducing efficiency of care (Bloomberg/Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/5). 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.