October 13,2010

Actuary's Analysis Shows Medicare Advantage Beneficiary Costs Going Up Under Health Overhaul

WASHINGTON – Four members of the Senate Finance Committee today released findings from the nation’s chief Medicare actuary that the health care overhaul will cause on average hundreds of dollars in increased out-of-pocket annual costs for Medicare Advantage enrollees starting next year. 

The analysis from chief actuary Rick Foster came in response to a request from Sen. Chuck Grassley, ranking member of the Committee on Finance, and committee members Sen. Orrin Hatch, Sen. Jon Kyl and Sen. Mike Crapo.  The Administration argues that Medicare Advantage beneficiaries will be better off than before the partisan health care overhaul, yet analysis from the nonpartisan actuary offers concrete analysis to the contrary.  The Finance Committee has jurisdiction over Medicare.

“The information from Medicare's chief actuary is nonpartisan and indisputable,” Grassley said.  “Those enrolled in Medicare Advantage will pay more out of their own pockets as a result of the new health care law.  The increases will be especially hard for the millions of low-income seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage.  Seniors’ costs will go up by hundreds of dollars on average in the coming years, by $346 in 2011 to a high of $923 in 2017. Painting a rosy picture of Medicare Advantage options denies the facts from the government's own chief actuary. And it's a disservice to the 11 million current beneficiaries who count on this popular program."

“Facts are stubborn things. It’s beyond dispute that seniors enrolled in the Medicare Advantage program will not only see their choices disappear over the next decade, but they’ll also have to pay much more out of their own pockets,”  Hatch said.  “This isn’t what the Administration promised and it’s time the White House level with the American people and our nation’s seniors about the $2.6 trillion law.”

“Despite repeated promises by the Administration to protect seniors' coverage, the chief actuary's analysis confirms that the new health care law jeopardizes seniors' access to private Medicare options by significantly raising costs and reducing benefits. So much for the promise that if you like your current coverage, you can keep it.” Kyl said.

“The latest information from CMS clearly shows a large out-of-pocket cost increase for seniors,” Crapo said.  “It reaffirms what Republicans have been saying throughout the health care debate: seniors will lose benefits that they currently enjoy under the popular Medicare Advantage program and costs will go up.”