Medicare Advantage in 2007: What Are the Choices?
June 22, 2007
Mary Ellen Stahlman
Recent analysis indicates that Medicare spends more on Medicare Advantage (MA) enrollees than the program would have spent on those enrollees had they remained in traditional, fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare. Does this mean that Medicare is paying MA plans too much? Do these higher payments result in more value for selected groups of Medicare beneficiaries? This Forum session explored these and other key issues facing policymakers as major changes in the MA program are debated in Congress this summer. Speakers discussed why Medicare pays more for beneficiaries in managed care than in traditional FFS. Whether the additional Medicare funding translates into valuable benefits, particularly for low-income beneficiaries, was debated. The sharp jump in private FFS plan enrollment and the benefits those plans offer was also examined. Finally, the business strategies of managed care companies in deciding what types of products to offer in different geographic areas and to different beneficiary groups was highlighted.
Mark E. Miller, PhD, Executive Director, Medicare Payment Advisory Commission; Marsha Gold, ScD, Senior Fellow, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.; Cindy Polich, Senior Vice President, Secure Horizons/UnitedHealth Group