For the past two months, the health insurance industry has attempted to scare older adults and the public into thinking the federal government is slashing Medicare benefits next year.
Op-eds, ads, and industry-backed reports have warned of cuts to prized perks and increases to premiums for Medicare Advantage, the growing alternative to traditional Medicare run by private health insurers. Since any changes to Medicare are politically unpopular, health insurers are hoping the pressure will force the Biden administration to retreat from its February proposals that would specifically change how Medicare Advantage plans are paid. Final regulations are due to come out April 3.
But insurance companies, as well as some doctors’ groups, are distorting the reality of the proposals in an effort to protect the sizable and growing profits they earn from Medicare Advantage. If anything, the government’s proposals are relatively tame, according to researchers and experts who have no ties to the industry. And they say officials could do more to combat the most egregious coding practices, which increase costs.
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