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Medicare Advantage Enrollment Grows, Premiums Shrink

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 2, 2012

She added that on average, people in every county have 26 Medicare Advantage plans to choose from, and 99.7% of beneficiaries have access to such a plan if they want one."

Additionally, with the Medicare Advantage one to five star plan rating system, "more and more beneficiaries are in four or five star plans."

Sebelius said Medicare Advantage and regular Medicare is strong for four key reasons:

1. Free recommended preventive services and annual wellness visits are now available to all Medicare beneficiaries, so "seniors no longer have to think about price when the time for the kind of care that can save their lives, like mammograms or colon cancer screenings."

2. A continuation of a 50% discount on covered drugs for seniors with Part D coverage who fall into donut hole, even as their premiums remain unchanged. "Before the law was passed, nearly one in four seniors reported skipping doses, cutting pills in half or not filling a prescription at all simply due to the cost."

3. The Affordable Care Act's investments in fraud and waste prevention "have returned billions of dollars to the Medicare Trust Fund, and last year fraud prosecutions jumped by almost 70%."

4. The use of health information technology and innovative strategies to improve healthcare are being encouraged by the administration.

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