Democrats are always accusing Republicans of wanting to throw grandma under the bus or over a cliff by destroying Medicare, when it’s their rotten Obamcare law that is gutting Medicare of funding and forcing insurers to cut physicians out of networks. Our side has been warning of this for years, but the media wasn’t really interested in anything we had to say.
UnitedHealth Group Inc., the nation’s largest provider of privately managed Medicare Advantage plans, has dropped thousands of doctors from its networks in recent weeks—spurring protest from lawmakers and physician groups and leaving many elderly patients unsure about whether they need to switch plans to keep seeing their doctors.
Doctors in at least 10 states have received termination letters, some citing “significant changes and pressures in the health-care environment.” The notices also tell doctors they can appeal within 30 days. That means many physicians and patients won’t know for sure who is in or out of UnitedHealth’s Medicare Advantage networks before the open-enrollment period to switch Medicare plans ends on Dec. 7.
UnitedHealth said its provider networks are always changing and that it expects its Medicare Advantage network “to be 85% to 90% of its current size by the end of 2014,” although it declined to say how many doctors are being cut in individual states or what criteria it is using. [...]
Medicare Advantage, an alternative to traditional Medicare, combines hospital and doctor coverage and often includes prescription drugs and perks like gym memberships. Enrollment has more than doubled since 2004 to 13 million in 2012, which represents about 27% of Americans on Medicare.
The federal government pays private insurers a per-capita fee to manage the benefits. The rate is currently about 12% more than the average Medicare patient spends annually. The Obama administration plans to cut those extra payments to insurers by about $150 billion over the next 10 years to help pay for the health law. Some experts expect enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans to decline sharply if that occurs. (Read More)
It isn’t just doctors and providers getting dumped, many seniors are losing their Medicare Advantage plans altogether.
Retired chemist Edward Schokowitz was incredulous when he received a letter from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey early last month saying his Medicare Advantage Plan, which had no premium, would be eliminated next year.
“They took all the senior citizens and threw us out of the plan. They now want to give us the same plan for $153 [per month],” he told the Daily Caller. “The President said you can’t be kicked out of your plan. He lies.”
Schokowitz is one of many Medicare beneficiaries now learning that — like Americans who buy insurance on the individual market — they are losing their insurance, and in some cases their doctors, under Obamacare. [...]
Now, insurance companies, feeling squeezed, are nixing doctor contracts and patient plans to save money. Medicare Advantage plans are being dropped all over the country.
Nearly 4,000 UnitedHealthCare Medical Advantage members in Hawaii will have their plan terminated next year, according to the Honololu Star-Advertiser.
UnitedHealthCare Medical Advantage is also eliminating two plans in Broward County, Florida. (Read More)
This is the problem with all of these government programs – what government giveth, government can taketh away.
H/T Charles B.