This high level overview and will not address every situation that a Medicare beneficiary may find them self in. This short primer is meant help you understand the different parts of Medicare and how they work, or don’t work, together. The following information can also be found in the Medicare and You Handbook.
The similarities between Medicare Advantage plan and the ACA plans through the Marketplace are straight forward. Individuals are enrolling in private ACA health insurance and the federal government is subsidizing part of the cost of the health insurance to make it affordable. One of the main differences is how the federal government reimburses the insurer. Medicare beneficiaries receive an indirect subsidy to purchase a Medicare Advantage plan according to county they live in and based on historical health care cost data. Individuals and families enrolling in a health plan through an Affordable Care Act exchange receive a subsidy based on their income.
Since the beginning of 2015 through April 17th, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have issued over $2 million in penalties on Medicare Advantage plans across the United States. Of the twelve Medicare Advantage plans cited for non-compliance, one had their enrollment activities suspended while the rest were issued civil money penalty. All […]
On October 29th, 2014, Chinese Community Health Plan (CCHP) was notified that they were being put on immediate imposition of intermediate sanctions from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). The Medicare sanction was triggered by what the CMS auditors concluded were severe violations in the Chinese Community Health Plan Medicare Advantage (MA-PD) plans offered in […]
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid released their reimbursements rates for Medicare Advantage plans by each county in the United States. Commonly known as the capitation rate, the table shows what Medicare pays to a private Medicare Advantage plan each month for each beneficiary enrolled in the health plan. The lowest reimbursement is in San […]
Blue Shield has introduced a very competitive Medicare Advantage plan in ten select counties through out California. With the acquisition of GEMCare, Blue Shield will be able to more easily offer a version of their Blue Shield 65 Plus HMO plan in the GEMCare service area. While some Medicare Advantage plans seem to be reducing plan benefits and dropping counties, Blue Shield has been selectively increasing their MA-PD footprint in California.
Health Net and several other administrators of Medicare Advantage plans were issued fines from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for errors in their updates to people enrolled in the MA-PD plans. The penalties, issued in October 2013, were for incorrectly stating plan information in annual notices to Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the Advantage plans and ranged from $23,410 up to $86,530.
If a Medicare Advantage plan has been awarded a 5 Star rating from Medicare you’ll see that trumpeted in TV commercials and print advertising. The star rating that either the Medicare Advantage or Part D Prescription Drug plan must display is a composite of 35 different measurements. Perhaps the most important rating for most beneficiaries is the level of customer service if there is a problem.
Medicare beneficiaries who suffer from chronic and debilitating illnesses such as cancer, dementia, HIV/AIDS or have suffered a stroke may be eligible for a Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan (SNP). These SNPs may offer transportation to and from doctor appointments, hearing aids and special language interpreters for doctor appointments.
Thousands of Medicare Advantage plan members in California are receiving letters that their health plans are closing from carriers such as Anthem Blue Cross and Health Net. Some of the health insurance companies will be leaving some counties completely while others will be offering new Medicare Advantage (MA) plans to their members. Regardless of the reasons, the plan closure triggers a Special Enrollment Period for Medicare beneficiaries to select a new plan offered in their county.