Medicare Advantage enrollment grows, premiums shrink

Despite warnings to the contrary, Medicare Advantage plans are seeing a growth in enrollment, as well as a decrease in premiums.

Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) officials said enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans is projected to grow by 10 percent and that premiums will decrease by 4 percent, reports The Hill's Healthwatch.

Critics feared that because the health reform law reduces payments to Medicare Advantage providers by $145 billion over 10 years, insurance companies would be forced to increase premiums and that fewer people would enroll in the plans. The Congressional Budget Office predicted the payment cuts would cause a 35 percent decline in Medicare Advantage enrollment by 2019, USA Today reports.

Jonathan Blum, deputy administrator for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said the premium drops were a result of the agency's strong negotiations with plans and the companies' continuing desire to serve the market, according to the Washington Post.

America's Health Insurance Plans remains concerned, however, that as the health reform-mandated cuts to Medicare Advantage take effect, beneficiaries will face higher out-of-pocket costs, reduced benefits, and fewer healthcare choices, Healthwatch notes.

To learn more:
- read The Hill's Healthwatch article
- see the USA Today article
- check out the Washington Post article

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