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Times Eyes Private Medicare FFS Plans

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A large newspaper has printed a front-page article that takes a highly critical look at a closely watched public-private health finance partnership.

Robert Pear writes today in the New York Times about insurers and producers in the private Medicare fee-for-service market that use what critics say is an overly aggressive approach to selling the plans.

The Medicare program now offers the private FFS option along with a managed care plan option, a combination of traditional Medicare with Medicare supplement insurance, and use of traditional Medicare coverage without additional coverage.

In some cases, patients buying the policies are not sure what they bought and do not understand that the tradeoff for extra flexibility will be higher co-payments, according to hospital executives quoted in the article.

In March, the New York Times ran a front-page article about claims denials in the long term care insurance industry. That article led to a letter from Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., requesting a U.S. Government Accountability Office investigation of LTC insurers.