SeniorJournal.com - Daily News for Senior Citizens

  FRONT PAGE • Aging • Health • Alzheimer's - Mental • Nutrition • Medicare & Medicaid • Politics  • Fitness  • Social Security • Alerts • Sex Health • Features • Retirement • Elder Care  >Search  >Senior Links

[NavBar.htm]

Senior Journal: Today's News and Information for Senior Citizens & Baby Boomers

More Senior Citizen News and Information Than Any Other Source - SeniorJournal.com

• Go to more on Medicare or Medicare Drug Program More Senior News at SeniorJournal.com on the Front Page

 
 
Follow on  and 

E-mail this page to a friend!

Medicare News

Medicare Advantage Programs Overwhelm Senior Citizens with Complex Choices

Elderly often have to sift through dozens of options; those with cognitive problems might benefit most from MA

Aug. 18, 2011 - In health care, more choice may not always lead to better choices, particularly for the elderly. In a new study, researchers from Harvard Medical School's Department of Health Care Policy found that the large variety of managed care plans offered by the Medicare Advantage program may be counter-productive. Elderly patients, particularly those with low cognitive ability, often make poor decisions - or no decisions at all - when faced with an overwhelming number of complex insurance choices.

Ironically, those with impaired cognition may benefit most from the more generous coverage often offered by Medicare Advantage plans.

"We are providing the most complex insurance choices to the very population that is least equipped to make these high-stakes decisions," says J. Michael McWilliams, assistant professor of health care policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School and a practicing general internist in the Division of General Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

 

Related Archive Stories

 
 

Over Two Million Low-Income Seniors May Be Missing Big Savings on Drugs

Medicare’s Low-Income Subsidy is easy to check for eligibility, says CMS

Aug. 9, 2011

Average Cost of Medicare Drug Plans Will Not Increase in 2012, Discounts for Donut Hole

‘Obama Care’ has provided 17 million seniors with free preventive services; 900,000 received 50% discount on prescription drugs

Aug. 5, 2011

More Senior Citizens Using Free Medicare Preventive Care; New Push by CMS Begins

Campaign to educate seniors about new free preventive care provided by Affordable Care Act; Over 780,000 received Annual Wellness Visit between January 1 - June 10 - see video. - June 23, 2011

Medicare Introduces Shared Savings Program with New Accountable Care Organizations

ACOs will be joint health care effort for better patient care at lower costs, says CMS - April 2, 2011

Lowering the Co-Pays for Mental Health Care Does Not Move Senior Citizens to Seek Help

Seniors in Medicare Advantage plans not motivated by rather large increases or decreases in co-pays for outpatient mental health care - Feb. 8, 2011


 
 

Read the latest news
> Medicare
> Senior Politics
>
Today's Headlines

> Medicare Drug Program prior to 2009

 

"Most other Americans choose from just a few health plans, but elderly Medicare beneficiaries often have to sift through dozens of options."

The study appears online today in the journal Health Affairs. It will also appear in the September print edition of Health Affairs.

The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 initiated a series of payment increases to the Medicare Advantage program. These payment hikes dramatically increased the number of private plans participating in the program and encouraged plans to compete for enrollees by offering lower premiums and more generous benefits, such as prescription drug coverage.

In order to examine the effects of these expanded choices and benefits of enrollment in Medicare Advantage versus traditional Medicare, McWilliams and his team looked at 21,815 enrollment decisions from 2004 to 2007 made by 6,672 participants in a national longitudinal survey, and compared enrollment decisions between participants with different cognition levels and different plan offerings in their area.

The researchers found that, on average, an increase in the number of plans was associated with increased Medicare Advantage enrollment, provided the number of available plan options was fewer than 15.

When the number of options surpassed 30, as it did in 25 percent of U.S. counties, such increases were actually associated with decreased enrollment.

More importantly, beneficiaries with low cognitive function were substantially less likely than their peers with high cognitive function to appreciate the advantages offered by these plans, choosing to remain in the traditional Medicare program instead.

The authors suggest the reason for lower enrollment could be that beneficiaries became overwhelmed and chose traditional Medicare by default. Furthermore, elderly Medicare beneficiaries with limited cognitive abilities may have difficulty identifying the most valuable option from a complex set of Medicare alternatives. This is particularly concerning given the high and rising prevalence of cognitive impairment and dementia in the aging Medicare population.

The findings also have important policy implications as health insurance exchanges are established under the recent national health reform legislation, the Affordable Care Act. These exchanges, the authors say, could be helpful to seniors and the Medicare program if expanded to handle enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans.

"Efforts to limit choice and guide seniors to the most valuable options could especially benefit those with cognitive impairments, who without more help appear to be leaving money on the table," McWilliams said. "Better enrollment decisions could in turn strengthen competition by rewarding high-value plans with more enrollees."

This research was funded by the Beeson Career Development Award Program, National Institute on Aging and American Federation for Aging Research.

About Harvard Medical School

Harvard Medical School http://hms.harvard.edu has more than 7,500 full-time faculty working in 11 academic departments located at the School's Boston campus or in one of 47 hospital-based clinical departments at 17 Harvard-affiliated teaching hospitals and research institutes. Those affiliates include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Cambridge Health Alliance, Children's Hospital Boston, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Forsyth Institute, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, Hebrew SeniorLife, Joslin Diabetes Center, Judge Baker Children's Center, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Massachusetts General Hospital, McLean Hospital, Mount Auburn Hospital, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and VA Boston Healthcare System.

 

 

Financial Relief for Volkswagen Diesel Owners

You may be eligible for money damages if you owned or leased one of these VW, Porsche or Audi vehicles.

In the major scandal of 2015, Volkswagen cheated you and the world. They rigged diesel emission controls so you, nor regulators, would know how much pollution their cars were adding to our environment.

They were caught and have reserved $7.3 billion to help "make it right" with victims.

If you owned or leased one of these vehicles, contact us now.

 Beth Janicek, Board Certified Personal Injury Attorney Janicek Law attorneys are actively pursuing these cases against VW. Do Not Wait...

Janicek Law Firm, PC

Free Consultation

(Call toll free)

1-877-795-3425 or Email

Vehicles Involved

VW Jetta (2009–2015)

VW Jetta SportWagen (2009–2014)

VW Golf (2010-2015)

VW Golf SportWagen (2015)

VW Beetle (2012–2015)

VW Passat (2012-2015)

Audi A3 (2010-2015)

VW Touareg (2009–2016)

Porsche Cayenne (2015)

Audi A6, A7, A8, Q5 Quattro (2016)

 

Search for more about this topic on SeniorJournal.com

Google Web SeniorJournal.com

Keep up with the latest news for senior citizens, baby boomers

Click to More Senior News on the Front Page

Copyright: SeniorJournal.com

    

 

Published by New Tech Media - www.NewTechMedia.com

Other New Tech Media sites include CaroleSutherland.com, BethJanicek.com, SASeniors.com, DrugDanger.com, etc.