In some areas, regular Medicare is the best paying plan around for both physicians and hospitals due to contracts with the private insurer sector for the rates they honor and pay...example...the private insurers, as this article indicates gets 112% of the Medicare fees, and yet due to contracts with the insurers for parts B and C, the providers (hospitals and physicians) may only receive 70% (or a little more or less) than the Medicare where does the difference go between the 112% and the 70%..something to think about...dividends?   Alegent Health care hospitals and clinics are back to accepting traditional Medicare...perhaps due to higher payments instead of the managed private care sector?  BD 

There is a long list of reasons why Medicare Advantage plans - in which private insurance companies take over management of health care for seniors who would otherwise be enrolled in traditional Medicare - are bad for seniors, taxpayers and the Medicare program itself. The most recent addition to the list: A senior enrolled in one might not be able to get treatment at a local hospital or clinic. A recent press release from Alegent Health hospitals and clinics states it will treat only Medicare patients covered through traditional Medicare, except in emergency situations. Alegent hasn't accepted private Medicare patients since 2000, but felt compelled to reiterate this position now because Medicare's fall open enrollment - when seniors can make plan changes - is taking place now.

"History indicates that many private insurers have withdrawn from the Medicare programs, leaving seniors to seek out an alternative product or return to Medicare," he said in a prepared statement.

According to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, the government pays private plans 12 percent more per patient than it pays for traditional Medicare.  Perhaps the worst thing about private plans is they siphon people into the private sector. That is a step toward dismantling a public health insurance program that has worked well for more than 40 years. It breaks up a buying pool more than 40 million people strong.

It's difficult to blame seniors who sign up for the private plans. After all, seniors are bombarded with offers from them, promising everything from no premiums to health-club memberships. But they're not such a good deal if you can't visit your local hospital.  It makes us wonder who - except for insurers receiving government subsidies - receives any advantage from these plans.

End insurer subsidies for private Medicare | | The Des Moines Register


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