Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services head Donald Berwick has announced Medicare Advantage premiums, which are paid by 11.3 million seniors, will be dropping by 1 percent. This news surprised many, who believed premiums were set to rise. MA premiums rose an average of 15 percent last year.
Officials credited the Affordable Care Act with giving them a stronger hand in negotiations with insurers. Some 300 plans were initially refused Medicare participation after they threatened to raise premiums.
“These plans unfairly proposed to increase out-of-pocket expenses for beneficiaries while increasing their own profit margins,” Berwick says. “We said, ‘No, you have to do better.’”