The very popular Medicare Advantage coverage that seniors elect as part of Medicare to cover medical and prescription drug coverage became significantly more expensive in 2010 than it was last year. Reflecting cut backs in government funding, private insurers who offer elective Medicare Advantage coverage decided they would raise rates this year instead of reducing services.
This is bad news especially for the 8.5 million seniors currently enrolled in these cost saving programs. The premiums increased by more than double for some seniors that are enrolled, and many fear they can no longer afford to maintain their coverage. These increases are another blow for President Obama’s goal for healthcare reform this year, because additional Medicare and Medicaid cuts are a major part of how the costs of reform would be paid for.
This is further evidence that pressure on the individual is increasing to shoulder more of the costs of their own healthcare and long term care. “These premium increases fit within a broader trend of increased financial pressure on the insured,” said Lindsey Spindle, a vice president of Avalere Health, a data analysis firm that produced the statistical study. “We see very large premium increases and a continued upward creep in how much out-of-pocket expenses beneficiaries are expected to pay, such as copayments.”The bottom line of this story is simple– the need for private funding solutions for health care and long term care costs are going to pushed back on the individual more and more now and into the future.