NU Online News Service, June 9, 2003, 5:23 p.m. EDT – Military retirees who participate in Medicare health maintenance organizations preferred Medicare HMO coverage to a pilot program that offered military retirees access to the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, according to the U.S. General Accounting Office.
The GAO prepared a report for several congressional committees to discuss the results of the pilot program.
In 2000, the government gave military retirees living in eight communities a chance to join the same health plans that cover federal civilian employees and retirees. The government added two more communities to the pilot program in 2000 and 2001.
Congress limited participation in the pilot program to 66,000, and, before the program began, some military retiree organizations predicted the program would attract 25% of the eligible retirees, writes Marjorie Kanof, the GAO director who led the team that prepared the report.
In reality, “demonstration-wide enrollment was 3.6% in 2000 and 5.5% in 2001,” Kanof writes.
In 2002, after the program added pharmacy benefits, enrollment fell to 3.2%, Kanof adds.
The total number of enrollees peaked at 7,521 of the 137,230 eligible beneficiaries, Kanof writes.