Medicare Advantage Plans Eliminated for 3 Million Seniors

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) have made a capricious decision to eliminate certain Medicare Advantage drug plans affecting up to three million seniors—automatically enrolling more than 1.5 million seniors in a new plan that will cost them 15% more in premiums alone.

Other changes made by CMS will cause premium rate increases for Medicare Advantage plans ranging from 10-45%.

House Ways and Means Ranking Republican Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Health Subcommittee Ranking Republican Wally Herger (R-Calif.) yesterday wrote Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius demanding answers and warning the administration’s plans would cause further confusion for America’s seniors.

From the letter:

Avalere, a leading health care research firm, predicts that because of CMS’ actions, more than 3 million seniors will be forced out of their current Medicare prescription drug plan.  

The impact, for many seniors, will be higher monthly premiums for Part D coverage.  For example, CMS has arbitrarily decided to shut down the second most popular prescription drug plan, AARP MedicareRx Saver, which currently enrolls more than 1.5 million Medicare beneficiaries. To “mitigate” this harm, CMS intends to automatically enroll effected seniors into a drug plan whose premiums are 15 percent higher than the plan terminated by CMS.  CMS is also terminating the eighth most popular plan that currently enrolls nearly one-half million Medicare beneficiaries.  

All told, Avalere predicts monthly premiums for the top 10 Part D plans, which cover 7 in 10 Part D enrollees, will increase by 10 percent next year.  Avalere noted that one plan, which currently has nearly 600,000 enrollees, will increase its premiums by nearly 45 percent (from less than $64 per month to nearly $91 per month) in part because of CMS’ decision to terminate drug plans.

The Deputy Director of the division that regulates Part D plans counters that seniors who will be harmed because of CMS’s actions will simply enroll in a lower cost plan.  However, this statement directly contradicts CMS’ decision to automatically enroll more than 1.5 million current enrollees of AARP MedicareRX plan into a more costly plan. 

Camp and Herger also demanded “CMS immediately provide all documents and correspondence related to CMS’ decision to eliminate prescription drug plans over the last two years, including any analysis that was conducted to determine the impact such decisions would have on premiums of displaced beneficiaries so that Congress can consider how best to protect seniors from such decisions in the future.”

In yet another example of the Obamacare body slam to America’s seniors, the Boston Globe reports Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has notified customers that it will drop its Medicare Advantage health insurance program at the end of the year, forcing 22,000 senior citizens in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine to seek alternative supplemental coverage.

So much for the Democrats’ promise, “If you like your insurance you can keep it.”

But most of us never believed them in the first place.