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AHIP Statement on Today's CMS Announcement
Date:10/1/2009

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) President and CEO Karen Ignagni released the following statement today regarding the announcement from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Medicare Advantage plans:

"Seniors across the country continue to have access to affordable, high-quality coverage options in the Medicare Advantage program. Medicare health plans offer innovative services and provide essential health care benefits that are helping to improve the quality of care seniors receive. A recent analysis found that seniors in Medicare Advantage spend fewer days in the hospital, are subject to fewer hospital re-admissions, and are less likely to have "potentially avoidable" admissions, for common conditions ranging from uncontrolled diabetes to dehydration.

"Today's announcement also demonstrates the real impact that policy changes can have on the health security of seniors in Medicare Advantage. CMS's 2010 Medicare Advantage payment rates are based in part on an assumption that Medicare physician payments will be cut by 21 percent - a policy that everyone agrees Congress will never let go into effect. Incorporating this assumption into Medicare Advantage payment rates is resulting in higher premiums or reduced benefits for many of the 11 million seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage. These unintended consequences could have been avoided. Medicare Advantage plans called attention to this issue in the spring and developed a range of solutions to mitigate the impact on beneficiaries, but Congress did not address this situation.

"Policymakers are now considering drastic cuts to Medicare Advantage that will put the entire program at risk and cause seniors to face even higher premiums, further reductions in benefits, and fewer health care choices. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, under the proposed legislation seniors would
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SOURCE America's Health Insurance Plans
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