Originally Posted by Fogbuster
The bill would cut payments to the Medicare Advantage plans by more than $100 billion over 10 years.
The key word here is Medicare ADVANTAGE
These plans are not Medicare as you know it. They are medicare programs run by private insurance companies and they are relatively new and they haven't been working out so well for patient or doctor alike.
I've had a few of our patients who switched to one only to become totally disillusioned within months and switch back to Medicare at the first opportunity.
Some of the Advantage plans are cheaper - but at a cost. Most are HMOs, so you're entirely limited in your choice of physician, lab, hospital etc. There are those who say you can see "any willing doctor" but, as a person working in a doctor's office, most doctors aren't willing.
Medicare is dependable, it is fairly quick-paying and the paper work is minimal compared to private insurers. The "Advantage plans" are none of those things. Doctors accept them for awhile because they like their patients, they don't want to upset them by denying their insurance and they are hopeful that it'll work out.
It doesn't and a few months down the line the doctor has to tell the patient that he can no longer accept the Advantage plan in question and the patient will have to find a new doctor or cover the cost of the visit out of pocket.
That's the point where the patient finds out that not only will his old doctor no longer take his insurance but that there are very very few other doctors who will accept the insurance plan.
Personally I think it would be a great idea to ban private insurance companies from getting involved in Medicare at all.
Don't trust me, tho, check it out for yourself.