Researcher: Medicare Advantage Plans Costing Billions More Than They Should
Article Source: HomeCare News
Switching seniors to Medicare Advantage plans has cost taxpayers tens of billions of dollars more than keeping them in original Medicare, a cost that has exploded since 2018 and is likely to rise even higher, new research has found.
Richard Kronick, a former federal health policy researcher and a professor at the University of California-San Diego, said his analysis of newly released Medicare Advantage billing data estimates that Medicare overpaid the private health plans by more than $106 billion from 2010 through 2019 because of the way the private plans charge for sicker patients.
Nearly $34 billion of that new spending came during 2018 and 2019, the latest payment period available, according to Kronick. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services made the 2019 billing data public for the first time in late September. “They are paying [Medicare Advantage plans] way more than they should,” said Kronick, who served as deputy assistant secretary for health policy in the Department of Health and Human Services during the Obama administration.
Medicare Advantage, a fast-growing alternative to original Medicare, is run primarily by major insurance companies. The health plans have enrolled nearly 27 million members, or about 45% of people eligible for Medicare, according to AHIP, an industry trade group formerly known as America’s Health Insurance Plans.