Medicare Advantage Benefits Cut to Improve Care for Non-Seniors

The Wall Street Journal reported on a story involving a 44-year old uninsured diabetic, Mark Baumann, and his mother Mary Baumann. According to the report Humana plans to reduce Mary’s Medicare Advantage plan to compensate for smaller government payments under the PP & AC Act, which stipulates that 15% of the new health care law will be funded by Medicare payment cuts beginning in 2012. The report cites the Congressional Budget Office in stating that Medicare Advantage enrollees will get $68 less a month in benefits by 2019.

The reduced Medicare Advantage plans for Mary and other seniors will result in either higher costs or less benefits. The report also states that dozens of private insurers that offer Medicare Advantage plans are now preparing to reduce dental, vision, and certain prescription-drug coverage beginning next year. Interestingly, the report states that by 2035, if both Medicare and Social Security see no changes, they will comprise 50% of all federal spending. The report goes on to discuss the larger issue of how this represents a shift of how the government applies our social safety net to cover younger people.