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Georgia Seniors' Medicare Advantage Benefits at Risk
Date:7/11/2008

Georgia to see approximately $140 million in cuts

WASHINGTON, July 11 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Hundreds of thousands of Georgia seniors could lose important benefits and pay more out of pocket for health care, while thousands more could lose their Medicare Advantage plan altogether under legislation approved this week by the U.S. Congress.

The legislation (H.R. 6331) would cut nearly $14 billion from the Medicare Advantage program over a five year period, including cutting estimated $140 million in Georgia alone and severely cut back the areas where Medicare private fee-for-service plans can operate, adversely impacting more than 40,000 Georgia seniors enrolled in these plans.

"It's unfortunate that Congress chose to cut the Medicare Advantage program that so many seniors rely on," said Karen Ignagni, President and CEO of AHIP. "Seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage could face limited choices, reduced benefits, and higher out-of-pocket costs if these cuts became law."

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that H.R. 6331 would decrease enrollment in Medicare Advantage across the country by about 2.3 million individuals over the next five years. The full report is available here: http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/95xx/doc9550/hr6331GreggLtr.pdf.

Following passage of the legislation, seniors across the country have been voicing their strong opposition to the proposed reduction in funding for Medicare Advantage. White House officials have stated that the president intends to veto the bill and send it back to Congress. Two-thirds super-majorities are required in both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives to overturn a veto.

Nearly 140,000 Medicare beneficiaries in Georgia currently rely on Medicare Advantage to meet their health care needs. These plans offer additional benefits and services that are not available in traditional Medicare, including reduced out-of-pocket costs; $0-premium comprehensive drug coverage; vision, hearing, and dental coverage; wellness programs; and disease management and care coordination programs. Medicare Advantage enrollees save an average of $90 per month - through improved benefits and lower out-of-pocket costs - compared to what they would pay in traditional Medicare.

A recent survey found that most seniors, including those in traditional Medicare, opposed cutting Medicare Advantage to fund the physician fix and believe these cuts would have a negative impact on Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. Click here to learn more about this survey: http://www.ahip.org/content/pressrelease.aspx?docid=23678.

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SOURCE America's Health Insurance Plans
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