Local Seniors Could Lose Their Medicare Advantage Coverage Under House Bill; Approximately 3 Million Seniors in 22 States, Including New Hampshire, Could Lose Their Medicare Advantage Coverage

Aug 01, 2007, 01:00 ET from America's Health Insurance Plans

    CONCORD, N.H., Aug. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Thousands of New
 Hampshire seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans could lose their
 coverage altogether if Congress passes legislation that would slash
 payments to Medicare Advantage plans.
     A study from an independent researcher and former senior health care
 official in the Clinton Administration, Ken Thorpe, estimates that the
 proposed cuts in the legislation would result in the possible elimination
 of Medicare Advantage plans in 22 states forcing 3.2 million seniors to
 lose their Medicare Advantage coverage, affecting as many as 2,432
 beneficiaries in New Hampshire alone.
     Seniors in these states would have to enroll in the fee-for-service
 Medicare program, where they would likely receive fewer benefits and pay
 higher out-of-pocket costs than they do in Medicare Advantage. Higher
 out-of- pocket costs, in particular, would hit seniors in Medicare
 Advantage very hard as government data indicate that 49 percent of Medicare
 Advantage enrollees earn less than $20,000 a year.
     The study referred to legislation, H.R. 3162, which the U.S. House of
 Representatives is considering that would significantly reduce funding for
 Medicare Advantage plans between 2009 and 2011.
     Echoing Dr. Thorpe's conclusion, Director Peter Orszag from the non-
 partisan Congressional Budget Office last week said that under H.R. 3162,
 Medicare Advantage enrollment would fall from approximately 8.2 million
 currently to 5.5 million in 2012, a reduction of 33 percent from current
 enrollment levels.
     Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans
 (AHIP), said that millions more would face higher out-of-pocket costs and
 would lose health care benefits if the proposed cuts become law.
     "This legislation would be devastating to millions of seniors who count
 on Medicare Advantage for their health security," said Ignagni. "Medicare
 Advantage is a critical option for millions of seniors who count on the
 better benefits, coordinated care and out-of-pocket protection that
 Medicare Advantage plans provide."

SOURCE America's Health Insurance Plans