By Tom Curry National affairs writer
msnbc.com
updated 9/17/2009 4:31:50 PM ET 2009-09-17T20:31:50

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?
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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