Medicare Advantage Overhaul has Some Early Success
The U.S Department of Health & Human services office has announced via a press release that Medicare Advantage, a Medicare provider system that was overhauled by the controversial Affordable Care Act of 2010, has managed to reduce premiums AND expand coverage. This news comes on the heels of a very contentious debate about government intervention into the healthcare system that continues to be a polarizing issue.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced on Wednesday that premiums under Medicare Advantage have decreased by 7 percent while enrollment has increased by 10.7 percent over the past year. This trend comes in spite of ominous predictions by many experts that opposed the Affordable Care Act that the new provisions would actually reduce benefits. Some even went as far as to say that the legislation would effectively end Medicare as it was formerly known.
The White House points to other positive trends that have been seen in Medicare Advantage as evidence that Medicare Advantage is growing stronger. Each county has on average about 26 different premium options to choose from giving seniors more options than they’ve had before. The Administration also points to the fact that since the passage of the Affordable Care Act premiums has gone down by 16 percent while expansion of coverage has gone up 17 percent. Seniors can also check the quality of potential plans through a five-star rating system of each Medicare provider allowing them to make the most informed decision about how they will receive their care.
While this trend continues to tick upward, many questions and concern remain about the future of senior care. The U.S Congress remains locked into a highly partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill over the trajectory of the budget as it relates to Medicare and Medicaid. Both parties have proposed deep cuts in Medicare spending at a time when the need for the program continues to reach unprecedented levels. Between now and year 2050 it has been projected that the amount of senior citizens is going to more than double from 40 million to 89 million people. Seniors are also going to become a larger part of the U.S population. These trends leave many skeptical that the United States government will be capable of meeting the growing needs of a rapidly-increasing population. While the solutions to our long term Medicare coverage issues are far from over one thing is clear; they haven’t gotten worse, and that is a good thing.