Administration Undermining Program But Still Taking Credit For Medicare Advantage (MA) Growth and Popularity

By September 27, 2013Health Care

The Department of Health and Human Services recently cited the Affordable Care Act as the driving force behind the continued success and growth of the MA program, noting that enrollment in the program is projected to increase for the fourth straight year.

There is no disputing the facts. MA offers seniors and retiree’s quality, affordable health care coverage and better health outcomes, as MA seniors have less-emergency room and specialist visits compared to their Medicare fee-for-service counterparts, and are more likely to make greater use of preventive care and care in settings other than in the hospital. However, the Administration that takes credit for the program’s success also has a track record of undercutting the program, including:

  • The ACA mandated $200 Billion in cuts to MA (roughly 9.5% have taken effect so far);
  • The sequester cut $11 Billion from the Medicare program in 2013, and is estimated to take another $11 Billion from the program in 2014.
  • Beginning in 2014, the ACA imposes a health insurance tax that will cut MA rates by 2.4%, increasing the per-beneficiary cost of MA by $3,590 over a decade, and costing MA plans $34 Billion over that same time.

All told, the Administration has supported cuts that amount to a 6.7% reduction in funding for the program in 2014, leading to benefit reductions, premium increases, narrowed provider networks, and increased cost-sharing – all of which will negatively impact seniors. Health Plans and Employers have warned that additional cuts to this program will surely result in a grim outcome for one of the few programs that consistently delivers results – high quality, affordable benefit options tailored for the various needs of our nation’s seniors and retirees.

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