Medicare Advantage Enrollment Climbs, Premiums Fall
The increase in enrollment since last year exceeded projections.
Market Watch: HHS: Medicare Advantage Enrollment Climbs 10%
Medicare Advantage enrollments have risen a bigger-than-expected 10 percent since this time last year as average premiums have fallen 7 percent, the Department of Health and Human Services disclosed Wednesday. Enrollment has risen to 12.8 million in 2012, while average premiums have fallen 7.2 percent to $31.54, confirming loose projections from September that enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans would continue to rise and average premiums would keep falling (Fox, 2/1).
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Is HHS Medicare Advantage Celebration Premature?
Enrollment is up and prices are down in Medicare Advantage, which offers Medicare beneficiaries private health plan alternatives – mostly managed care – to the traditional fee-for-service program. The Department of Health and Human Services is hailing the numbers as proof that predictions that the 2010 health law would damage Medicare Advantage were wrong (Werber Serafini, 2/1).
Bloomberg: Medicare Advantage Premiums Fall 7 Percent As Enrollment Rises, HHS Says
Medicare Advantage plans have 9.4 percent higher enrollment than a year earlier and fees that are 7.2 percent lower, according to a U.S. official who credited the 2010 health care law for the gains. In Medicare Advantage, people over age 65 get expanded coverage beyond the standard federal program from private insurers including UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) and Humana Inc (HUM) that are subsidized by the government. The enrollment rise to 12.8 million exceeded Medicare projections in May that membership would peak at 12.5 million in 2012 before falling to about 9.2 million by 2018 as cuts kick in on federal subsidies to insurers (Wayne, 2/1).
Fox Business: HHS Cites Medicare Advantage Enrollments Growth
Medicare Advantage offerings are private insurers' versions of the traditional government health plan. Shares rose across the sector Wednesday on signs of strong enrollment growth. The health agency touted the results as evidence the U.S. health care overhaul law has strengthened these plans. But the health insurers' industry group warned Medicare Advantage will suffer enrollment declines in coming years as program cutbacks under the health law swing into effect (2/1).
Modern Healthcare: Medicare Advantage Premiums Fall: HHS
Medicare Advantage premiums fell an average of 7 percent over the past year, according to HHS, even as enrollment rose by about 10 percent. Average premiums fell to $31.54 in 2012 from $33.97 in 2011, while enrollment rose to 12.8 million from 11.7 million beneficiaries in the same timeframe, according to figures released by HHS. At least some of that average premium [decrease] may stem from the continued spread of zero-premium plans in the Medicare Advantage program (Daly, 2/1).
In another Medicare report –
The Wall Street Journal's Law Blog: The Daily Writing Sample: Why Judges Dread Medicare Cases
"Picture a law written by James Joyce and edited by E.E. Cummings," begins a recent opinion by Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. "Such is the Medicare statute, which has been described as 'among the most completely impenetrable texts within human experience.'" The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit described it that way in a 1994 opinion (Palazzolo, 2/1).