Like the ObamaCare exchanges, [Medicare] offerings feature higher premiums and worse benefits, as well as insurers that are competing in fewer markets and shrinking their physician networks.
According to federal data, average consumer premiums are jumping by about 5% above the underlying rise of health costs. Three of every five counties have fewer options than they did this year, most of them in the South and Midwest. A recent Lerrink Swann research note for the nine major publicly traded insurers concludes their premiums are 26% higher and maximum out-of-pocket costs — a proxy measure that is inversely proportional to benefit generosity — have climbed by 22%.
About one of 20 seniors on Advantage had to switch plans because their old coverage was cancelled, but the damage has been particularly acute in a category called special needs plans, or SNPs. More than 1.5 million people were covered by about 500 of these plans in 2013, but the consultants at Avalere Health report that 13% were wiped out.
Liberals want to zero out about 80% of SNPs and allow them only for end-stage renal disease, AIDS and mental disabilities that require patients to be institutionalized. Everyone else is supposed to be shifted into new government-controlled, provider-side “reforms” that were part of ObamaCare. (WSJ)