Government still bullish on Medicare+Choice growth












The debate over the Bush administration's tax cuts often included someone pointing out that it is very difficult to predict revenue over a decade. Given the volatile nature of the stability of Medicare+ Choice, the government's data on that program — extrapolated to 2011 — should perhaps be taken with a grain of salt.

Beginning in 1999, Medicare+ Choice enrollment began to level off and has since declined to 5.6 million people in 2001. Given the exodus of health plans from the program, is the government's optimism warranted? Perhaps. A number of changes have been adopted since 1997 to encourage plans to stay in the Medicare market, such as the Balanced Budget Refinement Act of 1999 and the Benefits Improvement and Protection Act of 2000, which increased payments to M+C plans, and changes in administrative requirements, enacted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (formerly HCFA) to discourage terminations.

SOURCE: MATHEMATICA POLICY RESEARCH, INC., ANALYSIS OF HCFA'S MEDICARE COMPARE DATABASE 2001 FOR THE COMMONWEALTH FUND

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