Medicare Advantage Plans Continue to Cost More Per Enrollee Than Traditional Medicare

A study published online finds that the private insurance
companies that participate in Medicare under the Medicare Advantage program and
its predecessors have cost the publicly funded program for the elderly and
disabled an extra $282.6 billion since 1985, most of it over the past eight
years. In 2012 alone, private insurers were overpaid $34.1 billion. That's
wasted money that should have been spent on improving patient care, shoring up
Medicare's trust fund, or reducing the federal deficit, the researchers say.
The findings appear in an article published in the International Journal of Health Services by
Drs. Ida Hellander, Steffie Woolhandler, and David Himmelstein titled
"Medicare Overpayments to Private Plans, 1985-2012: Shifting Seniors to
Private Plans Has Already Cost Medicare $282.6 billion." Hellander is
policy director at Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), a nonprofit
research and advocacy group. Woolhandler and Himmelstein are professors at the
City University of New York School of Public Health, visiting professors at
Harvard Medical School, and co-founders of PNHP. The authors find that private
insurers have four strategies that make them more costly than the traditional
Medicare program.

Read more at EurekAlert

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