Medicare Disadvantaged

by April Ponnuru

Nearly one-third of America’s seniors, approximately 16 million people, are enrolled in the Medicare Advantage program, a popular and privately run alternative to the traditional government-run Medicare program. The Obama administration is making cuts to the program to help pay for Obamacare, and on April 7 we’ll know just how deep those cuts will be. What we already know is that these cuts will result in increased costs, reduced benefits, and fewer coverage options.

According to a recently released Oliver Wyman report, the administration’s attack on the Medicare Advantage program will result in a 5.9 percent cut to payments in 2015, causing benefit reductions and premium increases for seniors averaging $35–$75 per month, or $420–$900 for the year.

According to a recent eight-state Medicare poll by YG Network, 80 percent of seniors say they are satisfied with their Medicare Advantage plan. And they’re intensely concerned about the administration’s plans: 54 percent say they are very concerned seniors will bear the rise in costs, 47 percent are very concerned the reduction will reduce plan availability, and 47 percent are very concerned about reduced access to providers.

These concerns have not yet materialized in full. But seniors are already unhappy with Obamacare. Fifty-seven percent of seniors say they disapprove of the president’s signature law, of which 44 percent strongly disapprove of said law.

The bottom line: Seniors are ready to hold liberals responsible for any negative changes to their Medicare Advantage.

— April Ponnuru is policy director for the YG Network.

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