Medicare Advantage Enrollees Will See More Changes To PlansLos Angeles Times: "Medicare Advantage enrollees should make a habit of evaluating their options each year. Though experts say that beneficiaries won't be seeing a lot of changes this time - and what changes there are will mostly be for the better - it is a good idea for people to go through this annual drill before enrollment ends Dec. 31, just to make sure their plan choice remains a good one. [Such plans'] popularity has grown in recent years, more than doubling nationwide (from 5.3 million to 11.1 million) between 2005 and 2010, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit health policy organization. (KHN is a program of the Foundation.) Medicare Advantage has garnered a lot of media attention this year, much of it negative, because of rising premiums as well as insurance companies that allegedly misled consumers about providers that enrollees can access in their networks and medications that are covered in the plans" (Worth, 11/29).
Greenville (S.C.) News: "In past years, South Carolina seniors had as many as 59 plans to choose from [but now have] 34 plans this year. The change will mean about 20 percent fewer plans and about 6 million seniors nationwide having to switch plans, according to AARP. And beneficiaries in a plan that no longer exists who do nothing will be automatically enrolled in a similar plan. It's all led to some confusion, Stein said, and could result in unexpected price increases if someone ends up in a more expensive or enhanced plan with richer benefits. Higher costs could also occur because of increases by plans, she said. So more than ever, it's important to compare plans and look beyond the premium price, advocates say" (Osby, 11/29).
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: "Although fewer prescription drug plans will be available next year, people still won't lack for choices: 32 plans are being offered in Wisconsin. Premiums range from $14.80 to $109.10 a month. The weighted average premium, which takes into account how many people are enrolled in the different plans, is projected to be $43.96 a month, up 2.3% from this year. The projected increase in Wisconsin is less than the projected national average increase of 10%. But costs vary from plan to plan and from region to region. Premiums for an estimated 2.6 million people nationally will increase by at least $10 a month if they remain in the same prescription drug plan, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, a health policy research organization. And since 2006, some of the steepest increases have been in the most popular plans" (Boulton, 11/28).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.