Few Insurers Control Chunk Of Medicare Advantage Market, Report Finds

The Associated Press/Bloomberg BusinessWeek: "A small number of insurers controls a big chunk of the market for Medicare Advantage health plans, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation report. [KHN is a project of the Kaiser Family Foundation.] The nonprofit foundation said three or fewer companies dominate the market in every state except New York for the plans, which are privately run versions of the government's Medicare program. ... Medicare Advantage plans are subsidized by the government and offer basic Medicare coverage topped with extras or premiums lower than standard Medicare rates. In 14 states and the District of Columbia, one company enrolls more than half of all Medicare Advantage customers, Kaiser said. This means that as health care reform unfolds, decisions made by a small number of companies will have a large impact on the type of plans and premiums available over the next several years, said Tricia Neuman, a foundation vice president and director of its Medicare Policy Project" (6/23).

Health News Florida: "For the first time, Florida has more than 1 million Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in managed-care plans, according to data released Tuesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The 9-percent leap in membership this year means that almost one-third of beneficiaries in the state are now in a Medicare Advantage plan, the new study shows. Trailing only California in the numbers, Florida accounts for about one in 11 beneficiaries in managed-care plans nationwide. The growth in the program is likely a result of Florida plans' receiving the nation's highest average premium payments from the government, about $1,040 a month this year. … The national average is $884" (Watts, 6/23).

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