Claim: Medicare Advantage plans will be eliminated under Democrats’ health insurance reform plans.
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Medicare Advantage plans offer added benefits, such as dental and vision care, which is why some seniors choose them instead of fee-for-service Medicare. About 23 percent of beneficiaries have Medicare Advantage coverage. The non-partisan Medicare Payment Advisory Commission says Medicare Advantage plans cost too much: Payments per enrollee are 14 percent higher than regular Medicare. Without cuts to Medicare Advantage, an insurance overhaul won't get the money needed to help pay for insuring the uninsured; but such cuts may limit some seniors' choices.
Fact or fiction?
Both the House Democrats’ reform plan and the Senate Finance Committee plan released this week by Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., would cut payments to Medicare Advantage plans — not eliminating them but curtailing some of the plans. The Baucus bill proposes to cut payments to Medicare Advantage plans by about $123 billion over 10 years. Criticizing the Baucus plan, Finance Committee member Sen. Bill Nelson, D- Fla., said it would be "intolerable" to ask seniors on Medicare Advantage to "have something taken away from them that they have come to expect." But Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., said "overpayments" to Medicare Advantage plan "pad the pockets of insurance companies."
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