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200,000 To Lose Medicare HMO Coverage Next Year

  • September 11th, 2002

HMOs serving about 200,000 Medicare beneficiaries will drop out of the Medicare program next year, according to an American Association of Health Plans (AAHP) survey released Sept. 9, the last day for health plans to tell the government whether they will participate in the program in 2003. This raises to 2.4 million the number of Medicare recipients who have lost Medicare managed care coverage over the last four years.

AAHP President Karen Ignagni said HMOs are being "forced out" of Medicare because of low federal reimbursement rates. However, beneficiary advocacy groups said that rather than spend money to prop up Medicare HMOs, the government needs to fund prescription drug coverage.

'We expect people with Medicare will continue to vote with their feet and return to Original Medicare,' said Robert M. Hayes, president of the Medicare Rights Center. 'The Bush Administration and Congress should fill the coverage gaps in Medicare and enact a meaningful prescription drug plan immediately."

Beneficiaries who lose Medicare managed care coverage can either enroll in another Medicare managed care plan, if one is available, or return to coverage through regular fee-for-service Medicare.

To read a New York Times article on this news item, go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/09/10/national/10HMO.html (registration on the site is required).

For more on Medicare managed care, click here.

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Last Modified: 09/11/2002

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