Senate Finance Bill Protects Some Medicare Advantage Patients

An amendment to the Senate Finance Committee bill, sponsored by Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., would allow most Medicare Advantage patients in southern Florida to keep their current benefits. The Sun-Sentinel reports: "Medicare patients in South Florida have flocked to plans run by private Health Maintenance Organizations that offer special benefits such as low co-payments and health-club memberships. The Finance Committee bill would allow people already enrolled in many of these plans to keep current benefits. The provision applies to plans that operate at relatively low cost in competitive places such as South Florida" (Gibson, 10/13).

The St. Petersburg Times reports: "The legislation includes an amendment [Nelson] championed that would spare some cuts under Medicare Advantage, an alternative to traditional Medicare that offers better benefits, such as vision care, but costs the government more. Nelson seeks to grandfather in an estimated 800,000 Floridians who use the plans. Before the [Finance Committee] vote, Nelson read letters from a few of the scores of people who have written him with health care horror stories, including a 49-year-old constituent who cannot afford cancer medication" (Leary, 10/14).

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