Will Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage) benefits increase?


General Reference (not clearly pro or con)
US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in the page titled "Medicare Part C" on its website medicare.gov (accessed Aug. 31, 2010), provided:

"Medicare Advantage Plans, sometimes called 'Part C' or 'MA Plans,' are health plans offered by private companies approved by Medicare. If you join a Medicare Advantage Plan, the plan provides all your Part A (Hospital Insurance) and Part B (Medical Insurance) coverage.

Medicare Advantage plans always cover emergency and urgent care. Medicare Advantage Plans must cover all the services that Original Medicare covers, except hospice care. (Original Medicare covers hospice care even if you’re in a Medicare Advantage Plan.)

Medicare Advantage Plans may offer extra coverage, such as vision, hearing, dental, and/or health and wellness programs. Most plans also include Medicare prescription drug coverage.

Medicare Advantage Plans must follow rules set by Medicare. However, each plan can charge different out-of-pocket costs and have different rules for how you get services (like whether you need a referral to see a specialist or if you have to go to only doctors, facilities, or suppliers that belong to the plan)."


Aug. 31, 2010 - US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) 



PRO (yes)


[Editor's Note:  We have been unable to find any pros to this question, and if you know of any, please let us know.  Aug. 31, 2010]





CON (no)

The Wall Street Journal wrote in its June 11, 2010 article "Farewell, Medicare Advantage":

"Advantage gives almost one of four seniors private insurance options, and Democrats are about to cut its funding by some $136 billion over the next decade even as health costs rise. The Congressional Budget Office says these cuts will cause enrollment to drop by 35%, the Administration's own Medicare actuaries predict 50%, and both outfits take for granted that benefits will also decline."

June 11, 2010 - Wall Street Journal 



David Certner, Legislative Policy Director for AARP, stated in a May 21, 2010 foxbusiness.com column "Health Care Reform Impact on Medicare,":

"Those enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans may lose some benefits, such as free Medigap coverage and vision plans, starting in 2011.

Because of the large subsidies we were giving these plans, that factored into the kinds of additional packages and benefits (Medicare Advantage providers) were able to offer people.  The problem was, these were very expensive benefits and they weren't just being paid for by the taxpayers. Anyone not in a (Medicare Advantage) plan, which is the bulk of beneficiaries, was paying a much higher premium because of this.

The new law strips out these overpayments which will likely lead to cutbacks in the frills that Medicare Advantage plans offer to entice new patients to sign up."


May 21, 2010 - David Certner 



Chris Lee, MBA, United States Representative (R-NY), stated in an Oct. 25, 2009 press release titled "Lee Raises Red Flag Over Medicare Advantage Program," available at chrislee.house.gov:

"Medicare Advantage may cost a little bit more than other insurance programs including Medicare, but in the long run, its a worthy program. 'It has effective screening, prevention and wellness programs rather than the fee for service.'

...[The] colleagues on the other side of the aisle are pushing to cut the program 170-billion dollars over the next 10 years, [which] 'would basically cripple the program.'"

[Editors Note:  In March 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (HR 3590), the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HR 4872), and Executive Order 13535 which restricted federal funds from being used for abortion services. Pro, Con, or Not Clearly Pro or Con positions made prior to the final wording of these three elements of the health care reform legislation may have changed since March 2010.]


Oct. 25, 2009 - Chris Lee, MBA 



Douglas W. Elmendorf, PhD, Director of the Congressional Budget Office, stated in his Sep. 23, 2009 testimony before the Senate Finance Committee:

"Because the competitive bidding process would reduce the extra benefits that would be made available to beneficiaries through medicare advantage plans, fewer of them [seniors] would end up choosing medicare advantage plans and more would choose the fee for service [plans]...

...[I]n the current medicare advantage system, beneficiaries who choose medicare advantage receive benefits that beneficiaries in the fee for service program do not receive, and these additional benefits would be smaller...The additional benefits would be $42 per month in 2019, which is a little less than half of what we would project under current law."

[Editors Note:  In March 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (HR 3590), the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HR 4872), and Executive Order 13535 which restricted federal funds from being used for abortion services. Pro, Con, or Not Clearly Pro or Con positions made prior to the final wording of these three elements of the health care reform legislation may have changed since March 2010.]


Sep. 23, 2009 - Douglas W. Elmendorf, PhD