Medicare has increased the amount of mental health coverage beneficiaries are entitled to. After years of unequal treatment,...Read more
Private Medicare Plans Accused of Using Shady Marketing Tactics
- May 15th, 2007
Insurance companies have been using improper tactics to sign up seniors for private Medicare plans, according to government officials and advocacy groups. The tactics include going door-to-door, forging signatures, and giving false information. According to an article in the New York Times, enrollment in fee-for service Medicare plans is increasing, but seniors who sign up for these plans often don't understand what they are getting.
These plans, called Medicare Advantage, are offered by private insurers. Fee-for-service Medicare Advantage plans allow patients to visit any physicians or hospitals that will provide treatment based on the conditions set by the insurer. Other Medicare Advantage plans are run on the managed care model. The plans often look attractive because they offer the same basic coverage as original Medicare plus some additional benefits and services that original Medicare doesn't offer, such as vision and dental services. However, a new report by the Medicare Rights Center finds that Medicare Advantage plans actually offer many disadvantages compared to original Medicare. For example, care can actually be more expensive because co-payments may be higher. In addition, seniors who switch from traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage may find that their doctor does not accept Medicare Advantage plans.
The increased enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans is actually costing the government more, as well. The government pays 19 percent more to fee-for-service Medicare Advantage plans and 12 percent more to all Medicare Advantage plans than it pays for original Medicare.
In April 2007, two insurance agents in Georgia were arrested for defrauding seniors by signing them up for Medicare Advantage plans even though they didn't agree to it, and state insurance commissioners in Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin are investigating complaints. The insurance industry, however, claims the problems stem from only a few bad actors.
For the New York Times article, click here.
For more on Medicare Advantage, click here.
Local Elder Law Attorneys in Ashburn, VA
Needham Mitnick & Pollack, PLC
Susan Pollack served as Chairperson of the Falls Church Senior Citizens Commission from 1997 to 2011 and was on the Executive Board of the Falls Church Education Foundation. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the Alzheimer’s Association of the National Capital Area and is a member of the Arlington B...
Hammond and Associates, LLC, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Wills, Trusts, Probate
For Jeffrey Hammond, the practice of Elder Law is personal. Jeff’s many years of experience in law and in business did not prepare him for the crisis he faced in 2005 and 2006 when his father suffered a stroke and both of his parents suffered from dementia and other medical problems. At that time, Jeff began an i...
Margaret A. O'Reilly, PC
Margaret A. O’Reilly is an estate planning and elder law attorney with over thirty-five years of legal experience. Attorney O’Reilly graduated from Duke University with a degree in psychology, and received her law degree from Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. For over 15 y...