Consumers who still have access to Medicare Advantage plans will be paying slightly lower rates in the coming year.
Medicare Advantage premiums will be an average of 1% lower in 2011 than they are today, according to officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Medicare Advantage is a program that gives private carriers a chance to provide alternatives to traditional, government-administered Medicare coverage. The plans have been covering about 11 million of Medicare’s 47 million enrollees. Suppliers of another alternative to relying solely on traditional Medicare – private Medicare supplement insurance – are covering about 10 million enrollees.
The 2011 Medicare Advantage annual open enrollment season is set to start Oct. 15 and last until Dec. 31. About 99.7% of the Medicare enrollees who have access to Medicare Advantage plans this year will continue to have access in 2011, officials predict.
The Affordable Care Act – the federal legislative package that includes the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) – will start to phase in major changes in federal Medicare Advantage funding provisions in 2011. But, for now, the legislation having the most immediate effect on coverage for older U.S. residents is the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) of 2008, which is imposing new provider network and quality reporting requirements on Medicare Advantage private fee-for-service (FFS) plans.
Medicare Advantage managed care plans are not changing all that
much this year, and projections suggest that overall enrollment in the plans will increase about 5% in 2011, officials say.