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Medicare Advantage getting more expensive

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Seniors are facing the same rising insurance premiums that the broader market has been dealing with as the cost of Medicare Advantage policies goes up.

According to Avalere Health, a Washington health advocacy group, this year seniors will spend an average of $39.61 a month on these supplemental plans, an increase of 14.2 percent over 2009. Increases in the previous year had been only 5.2 percent.

Experts at Avalere and elsewhere attribute the increased premiums to rising health care and drug costs. The insurance industry also blames cuts in government payments to Medicare Advantage plans, which were reduced by approximately 4 percent after federal laws were changed in 2006 and 2008.

On a positive note, as part of health care reform, “The law freezes 2011 county benchmarks for Medicare Advantage at the 2010 levels, resulting in flattened payments for MA plans starting in 2011. The 2010 Advance Notice will need to be modified to reflect the new law.”


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