Medicare Advantage Gets A Burst Of Energy With Higher Reimbursements.
Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage or MA, is government insurance offered to the public through private health carriers. These carriers contract with the CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) to provide the Part A and Part B insurance, and are reimbursed for submitted claims. Plans can be HMOs, PPOs, Special Needs Plans and more. The Obamacare fees and restrictions on insurers, including a new 85% medical-loss ratio imposed on private Medicare plans in 2014 resulted in many carriers deciding to discontinue selling health plans due to lower profits. In 2014 according to the Congressional Budget Office the health-reform law would reduce $156 billion from the program over the next ten years.
With the change in government and policies this departure by carriers from selling health plans is changing as more carriers are entering the market. This year CMS announced that payments to insurers will be increased by 3.4%. The continued growth of this segment means that more insurance carriers will be enticed into specializing in this unique insurance offering.
The Future of Medicare Advantage
Continuing growth of Medicare Advantage means competition as carriers drive Medicare Advantage enrollment growth by increasing internal sales teams and aggressively courting major Insurance Agencies to market their plans. Offering additional coverages such as basic vision, dental and hearing are essential for carriers to stay competitive against other plans. While premiums for Medicare Advantage plans can vary, some popular carriers are increasing the number of plan options and are offering zero premium plans to entice enrollees.
The industry has seen both major consolidation as larger carriers absorb smaller ones, as well as new Medicare Advantage startups who are attempting to gain a foothold in this growing industry. With year over year growth, Medicare Advantage will continue to be a main pillar of the Health Insurance industry.
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