The new popularity of Medicare Advantage plans has grown without much public policy debate about the effects of large-scale privatization on patient health and on the costs to both the government and enrollees. Critics are worried about what that could mean for patients.
The New York Times: Medicare’s Private Option Is Gaining Popularity, And Critics
When Ed Stein signed up for Medicare eight years ago, the insurance choice seemed like a no-brainer. Mr. Stein, a Denver retiree, could choose original, fee-for-service Medicare or its private managed-care alternative, Medicare Advantage. He was a healthy and active 65-year-old, and he picked Advantage for its extra benefits. “The price was the same, I liked the access to gyms, and the drug plan was very good,” he recalled. After a pause, he added: “Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be facing a crisis like the one I’m having now.” (Miller, 2/21)
CNBC: Medicare: If You’ll Still Be Working At Age 65, Here’s What To Do
If you’re counting on working past your 65th birthday, be sure to consider how Medicare may factor into your plans — even if you already have health insurance through your job. While workers at companies with fewer than 20 workers generally must sign up for Medicare at age 65, people working for larger companies typically have choices: They can stick with their group plan and delay Medicare without facing penalties down the road, drop the company option in favor of Medicare or go with a combination of the two. (2/19)
In other news out of CMS —
Modern Healthcare: CMS Wants To Extend Joint Replacement Model By 3 Years
The CMS Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation on Thursday proposed a three-year extension for the comprehensive care for joint replacement model. The proposed rule seeks to change the definition of an episode to include outpatient hip and knee replacements. The agency also wants to modify how it calculates the basis for the target price by using the most recent year of claims data instead of the last three years, among other changes. (Brady, 2/20)
Kaiser Health News: Trump’s Medicaid Chief Labels Medicaid ‘Mediocre.’ Is It?
The Trump administration’s top Medicaid official has been increasingly critical of the entitlement program she has overseen for three years. Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, has warned that the federal government and states need to better control spending and improve care to the 70 million people on Medicaid, the state-federal health insurance program for the low-income population. (Galewitz, 2/21)
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