The longevity of MA plans?

Mar 16, 2007

  1. senior-advisor-indiana
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    senior-advisor-indiana Guru

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    Does anyone have any insight on how long the medicare advantage plans will be around. I have heard people saying that they would be here for atleast 2 years and then they would probably be gone. I have read articles that the MA plans are costing medicare 12% more than traditional medicare. I have also seen articles about the democrats fighting against the MA plans.
     
  2. wilkin
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    I believe the MA plans will be around for more than 2 or 3 more years but that premiums will continue to rise and benefits will be reduced so that they will not tempt as many people to leave their traditional med supps. The fact that they will change each year is good for agents because we can re-write everyone for a new commission each year - not hurting, but helping the client. But this is confusing and inconvenient for the client- having to change plans so often. Ultimately, and I think it will be probably 4 to 6 years, MAs will go away and be looked back on as a bad experiment.
    -Bill
     
    wilkin, Mar 16, 2007
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  3. midwestbroker
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    Medicare Part C is 10 years old. They have been in Kansas City as HMO's since about 1991. Since the release of PFFS plans, they are now available all over the U.S. They formed Part C in the balance budget act of 1997. Prior to that it was Medicare + Choice.

    I see them around for a long time. I do not see them as attractive ($0 premium) in the future, but they will still maintain a lower premium then most supplement plans.

    In the past 5 years, the Humana HMO here in Kansas City looked like this in premium
    2003 - $50 range (cannot remember the exact amount)
    2004 - $36
    2005 - $19
    2006 - $8
    2007 - $19

    So, even prior to Part D being here, they were still low cost.
     
  4. senior-advisor-indiana
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    well if they arent going to be mush cheaper than a supplement then what would the advantage be? i have only lost a few clients to MA plans. Everyone knows you cant get anything good for free and u get what you pay for.
     
  5. honestagent
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    This is so true and I use this line at the table; not everyone can afford $100.00 monthly premium, however - so - hence the 'advantage.'
     
  6. Frank Stastny
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    There are tons of horror stories of people who went with an HMO just because of the price. Most of the seniors I visit are only interested in one thing, how much does it cost? Not how good is it going to be if they really need to use it. People just refuse to think that "it" is going to happen to them.

    Are we going to hear the same about Advantage plans three years from now? I have already had clients call me who got "talked into" an Advantage plan just because of the premium and ask me if I could get their Supplement back for them.

    People tend to make emotional decisions, not well thought out, intellegent ones. Especially seniors when it comes to money.

    I get so tired of hearing the phrase, "I'm on a fixed income". Especially when that "fixed income" is SS benefits and several thousand dollars per month from their retirement. These are the ones who are usually looking for the cheapest thing out there and then complain the most when they find out that their "free" policy isn't even close to the Medicare Supplement policy they use to have.

    Your statement is so true, "you only get what you pay for".

    In my opinion, Advantage plans are for people who cannot afford a supplement, but not the best choice for those who want quality health care with a minium of hassle and agrivation.

    How long will they be around? It's impossible to say. Maybe only until he government decises to "help us again". (I'm from the federal government and I'm here to help you. I also have a bridge for sale. haha.)
     
  7. honestagent
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    Classic. So true. Good one Frank.
     
  8. arnguy
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    In the 5-county Metropolitan Philadelphia PA area MA's are big sellers. Independence Blue Cross is the biggest marketer of them in this area, but they are getting some competition from Aetna and United Healthcare. Most seniors appear to be satisified with the MA's around here, but I suppose it depends on what is avaiable in each locale.:smile:
     
    arnguy, Mar 18, 2007
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  9. midwestbroker
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    It is true, all depends on where you live.

    If there is little premium difference between a supp and a MA plan, that you might as well go with the supp.

    But, when the Supp is $180 per month, and the MA plan is $30, then the MA might be a better fit.

    HMO based MA plans are old news on the market and usually stay the lowest in cost, but are only available in the metro markets. The last rule of thumb I heard is that you have to have a population of 800,000+ to have a HMO work.


    One thing that is supposed to happen (according to the grape vine) is Medicare is going to go 75/25 in 2008. That should raise the cost for all plans.
     
  10. Cenla Agent
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    The bottom line for MA viability is Medicare's funding of the program. If the funding is cut again as it was about 10 years ago, you will see plans pulling out again. The increasing costs of Part D will likely be a factor as well.

    I sell Humana, which in my area at least, appears to be the most conservative when it comes to pricing, at least up until now. My guess is that they are hedging against the day that funding may drop again. IIRC they only pulled out of two major markets when it happened the last time.

    A MA plan is often a good option in the following scenarios:

    1. The client cannot afford a Medicare Supplement.
    2. The client did not enroll in a Supp. during their open enrollment/guaranteed issue period and cannot get one now for health reasons.
    3. A client who is on Medicare Disability, supps being very expensive for those on disability.
    4. A client who is in relatively good health (i.e. no current or forseeable major problems) who is looking to save money and who has good plans available in their area in terms of premiums, benefits, network, etc.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2007
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