Friday, April 30, 2010

Ventura County Star and Healthcare Reform

The Ventura County Star has a great column on the new Healthcare Reform Law and its rules. Click here to find out how Healthcare Reform will impact Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans) and how to replace them if and when it becomes necessary.

click here: http://www.vcstar.com/news/2010/apr/08/healthcare-reform-and-you-medicare-advantage/?partner=RSS
Below is the colum as I found on the Ventura Star website:

Bettye Wingate of Ventura is 69, healthy, and happy with her Medicare Advantage coverage. With the passage of the new healthcare law, she wanted to know if she would be able to continue with her current doctor, and whether she would lose Medicare Advantage.

“I’m happy with what I’ve got,” she said.

Insurance reform expert Shana Alex Lavarreda, director of Health Insurance Studies at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, said Wingate will not lose her Medicare coverage, but beginning next year, government payments to Medicare Advantage insurance companies will be gradually reduced.

With Medicare Advantage, seniors such as Wingate can get their Medicare coverage through a private insurance company — in this case, Aetna. Aetna gets a set amount from the government for each Medicare patient it serves.

Medicare will gradually reduce this fixed amount for three years until the amount the government pays to insurance companies matches what the government pays the companies for traditional Medicare enrollees.

“It’s hard to know what Aetna (a for-profit company) will do in response,” Laverreda said. “They might remain in the Medicare Advantage program or choose to pull out.”

If Aetna decides to stop offering Medicare Advantage, Wingate would still have traditional Medicare coverage. If her doctor accepts Medicare, she could stay with her doctor, or enroll with another company that offers Medicare Advantage.

— The Star will answer your questions about the new healthcare law. If you have a question about how it affects your situation, send it to Marty Bonvechio at Mbonvechio@vcstar.com.