Although it’s best known for introducing the Medicare prescription drug program, the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003 also made a number of changes to the Medicare managed care program – Medicare Advantage. Among the aims: Keep managed care plans from leaving the program by offering higher payments, and give beneficiaries more reasons to consider joining.
Data on the impact of these statutory changes on seniors in terms of benefit design and out-of-pocket costs are just coming in. And along with the data come a round of questions.
Is the Medicare Advantage program now growing again after a period of declining enrollment? How do beneficiary costs in Medicare Advantage compare to costs for beneficiaries in the traditional fee-for-service program? Are the payments provided under the 2003 law being used to offer more comprehensive coverage for prescription drugs and other health benefits? Are additional changes to payments for Medicare managed care plans warranted?
To discuss these and related questions, the Alliance for Health Reform and The Commonwealth Fund sponsored a May 19, 2006 briefing. Panelists were: Abby Block, director of the Center for Beneficiary Choices at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Brian Biles, professor of health policy at George Washington University; Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans; and Marsha Gold, senior fellow at Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. Stuart Guterman of The Commonwealth Fund and Ed Howard of the Alliance moderated the discussion.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Marsha Gold Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)