Medicare News: Under Medicare Advantage Senior Out of Pocket Costs Increase

An official from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently provided new analysis that shows seniors may have to spend more money for Medicare Advantage programs beginning next year as a result of provisions in the health care reform law.

medicare-and-medicaidRichard Foster, the chief actuary for CMS, told Senate Republicans in a letter that the health care reform law will result in “less generous benefit packages” for Medicare Advantage plans next year. “Seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage will pay more out of their own pockets as a result of the new health care law,” said Foster. “Their costs will go up by hundreds of dollars on average in the coming years, by $346 in 2011 to a high of $923 in 2017.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says, in a separate letter sent recently to Sen. Grassley, the changes in the health care reform law will end up strengthening the program. “Next year, seniors will have new benefits, new protections against fraud, and better Medicare Advantage choices with meaningful differences at affordable premiums, and more beneficiaries will participate in the program,” she wrote.

Medicare Part C is also known as the Medicare Advantage program.  Most HMO’s you see advertised on TV are a part of the Medicare Advantage program.  Think SCAN, Blue Shield’s 65+, AARP’s Medicare Complete, etc.  These Medicare HMO’s often have ZERO premium but require that you make co-payments for certain services.  You also MUST use your Primary Care Physician for all services and he/she will give you a referral to a specialist should you need one.