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Medicare & Medicaid News

As Medicare Open Enrollment Nears More Seniors Opting for Quality Medicare Advantage Plans

Open enrollment begins October 15 and ends on December 7; period when those in Medicare can choose new health and drug plans

Medicare Open Enrollment

Oct. 15 - Dec. 7

When people with Medicare can choose their plans for 2014

Click to Medicare Site

Sept. 19, 2013 - Senior citizens are continuing to choose higher quality Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, according to a news release today from Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She says for the fourth straight year enrollment in these health care plans is projected to increase.  

The average MA premium in 2014 is projected to increase by $1.64 from last year, coming to $32.60. Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, average MA premiums are down by 9.8 percent.

Access to the Medicare Advantage program will remain strong, with 99.1 percent of beneficiaries having access to a plan, as the Annual Open Enrollment period for health and drug plans is about to open on October 15 and ends December 7.  

The average number of plan choices will remain about the same in 2014 and access to supplemental benefits remains stable.  


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MA quality continues to improve as over one-third of MA contracts will receive four or more stars, which is an increase from 28 percent in 2013.  Over half of MA enrollees are enrolled in plans with four or more stars, a significant increase from 37 percent of enrollees last year.  

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) calculates star ratings from 1 to 5 (with 5 being the best) based on quality and performance for MA and Medicare prescription drug plans to help beneficiaries, their families, and caregivers compare plans.

“As a result of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug Plans remain strong and continue to provide improved benefits and low premiums for beneficiaries,” said Secretary Sebelius.  

“And as a reminder, it is business as usual when it comes to their Medicare benefits: people with Medicare do not need to enroll in the new Health Insurance Marketplaces.”

Earlier this year, CMS announced that the average estimated basic Medicare prescription drug premium plan in 2014 is projected to be $31 per month, holding steady for four years in a row. One hundred percent of people with Part D will have access to a plan with lower premium than what they paid in 2013.  

More than 6.6 million people with Medicare have saved over $7 billion on prescription drugs as a result of the Affordable Care Act, an average of $1,061 per beneficiary.

The Affordable Care Act closes the “donut hole” over time.  This news comes on the heels of historically low levels of growth in Medicare spending.  From 2010 to 2012, Medicare spending per beneficiary grew at 1.7 percent annually, substantially more slowly than the per capita rate of growth in the economy.

Each year plans costs and covered benefits can change, and Medicare beneficiaries should look at their Medicare coverage choices and decide what options best meet their needs.  

For more information and to compare benefits and prices of 2014 Medicare health and drug plans available during Medicare Open Enrollment, click here


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.

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VW Jetta (2009–2015)

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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)


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