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AHIP Statement on Today's CMS Announcement

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 see their current benefits reduced and enrollment would decline significantly compared to current projections.

"Seniors who like their current coverage should be able to keep it. The entire Medicare program, including Medicare Advantage, needs to be carefully evaluated as part of comprehensive health care reform, but policymakers should not force seniors to fund a disproportionate share of the cost of reform."

America's Health Insurance Plans - Providing Health Benefits to More Than 200 Million Americans

Important Facts About Medicare Advantage:

Resources on Medicare Advantage:

Two new reports showing the improved quality of care seniors in Medicare Advantage receive compared to the fee-for-service Medicare program:

Data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey show that Medicare Advantage plans continue to be a vital source of coverage for low-income beneficiaries:

Low-Income & Minority Beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage Plans, 2007

An overview of key trends in chronic care, highlighting Medicare Advantage plans' recent innovations:

Trends and Innovations in Chronic Disease Prevention & Treatment: An Update on Medicare Advantage Plans

SOURCE America's Health Insurance Plans

SOURCE America's Health Insurance Plans
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