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Medicare Advantage Enrollment Grows, Premiums Shrink

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, February 2, 2012

Jonathan Blum, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services deputy administrator, agreed with Sebelius that Medicare Advantage is strong, and said companies with those products show no signs of retreating from that market.

"The schedules of future payment changes are well laid out; it's public information, and we really look at how the market is working. It's a very competitive marketplace, and beneficiaries continue to find value...We're confident the program will continue to grow over the next several years," Blum said.

He added that "plan actuaries can calculate as well as anybody what the future payment changes are coming into the market and (they're) wanting to stay in the market and compete for beneficiaries by offering them good value."

In his release, AHIP spokesman Zirkelbach said Medicare beneficiaries currently choose Medicare Advantage coverage for their lower out-of-pocket costs and innovative services such as care coordination that improve quality and safety.
 
An analysis released by the Government Accountability Office in January shows that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services overpaid Medicare Advantage plans between $1.2 billion and $3.1 billion in 2010, and likely overpaid even more in 2011.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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