Unforeseen Medicare Advantage Costs
When lawmakers included a provision in the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003 to expand the role of private health care plans in Medicare, they thought it would reduce Medicare spending growth. They were right about one thing: Medicare Advantage (MA) enrollment has increased from 4.8 million in 2004 to 8.7 million to date. What they didn’t anticipate was MA costs exceeding the standard Medicare Fee-For-Service (MFFS) program.
According to the Common Wealth Fund, MA plans will cost Medicare an average of 12.4 percent or $986 more per person in 2008 than if the person is enrolled in the standard Medicare FFS plan. Multiply that by the number of current enrollees and you get $8.5 billion in extra payments in 2008 — up from $3.9 billion in 2004.
Read the full Sept. 8 report on the Medical News Today Web site.