Have you had enough? Enough mailers? Enough TV commercials? Enough emails? Enough phone calls?
There is an end date, December 7th, at which time the “open season” for Medicare Part C, AKA Medicare Advantage, will be off the shelf. Like a deer after hunting season, you, the Medicare recipient will no longer be raw meat for insurance industry hunters, aided and abetted by your own government - Congress and the executive. That is, until next year. Those who will have signed up for the Advantage scam will eventually be eaten by the private insurance companies like the elderly's purported champion, AARP (formerly the risibly named American Association of Retired Persons. It should be renamed the American Association of Insurance Scams, AAIS).
“AARP has been reaping the financial benefits of its own Medicare Advantage plan, which it has been offering in partnership with the for-profit insurance giant UnitedHealthcare since 2003. Starting in 2021, AARP also launched a lucrative partnership with the major Medicare outsourcing firm Oak Street Health, which is a participant in the ACO Realizing Equity, Access, and Community Health (REACH*) program that privatizes Medicare benefits for seniors without their consent, as reported by Kaiser Health News in June.”
So says Matthew Cunningham-Cook in an article in Jacobin entitled “AARP Is Welcoming the Privatization of Medicare.” The notion that AARP is looking out for the best interests of its membership is laughable. Cunningham-Cook goes on to say:
“On one hand, AARP, formerly known as the American Association of Retired Persons, collects enormous amounts of revenue from Medicare Advantage insurers to supplement huge executive salaries (the nonprofit’s CEO made $1.3 million in 2020). On the other hand, the organization is expected to advocate for the best interests of their 38 million members — and the 28.4 million Americans now covered by Medicare Advantage plans, or nearly half of all Medicare beneficiaries.”
I am not just picking on AARP. Even my life-long insurer, the “exclusive” USAA (United Services Automobile Association), which ensures only military members and their families, has come aboard the Medicare Part C - Advantage bandwagon. To its credit, USAA also offers, Medigap insurance which is what prudent Medicare recipients ought to be looking for. This from USAA:
“A Medicare Supplement plan is also called a Medigap plan. That's because it helps fill in the gaps in Original Medicare coverage. Unlike a Medicare Advantage Plan, a Medigap policy isn't an alternative to Medicare Parts A and B. Instead, it adds to those benefits. Medigap plans typically come with higher premiums than Medicare Advantage Plans but may have lower out-of-pocket costs. If you're enrolled in Original Medicare, you can choose a Medigap plan from a private insurer. Plan benefits work with any hospital or doctor that accepts Medicare.”
With Medicare Advantage people become trapped. Fancy stuff will be dangled in front of Medicare recipients: gym memberships, zero premiums, cash back into your Social Security check, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, (like in this TV ad). It is all an attempt to entice Medicare beneficiaries into a disadvantageous program. Don't believe me? Watch this video regarding Medicare Advantage produced by Protect Medicare, an offshoot of Physicians for a National Health Plan - PNHP. The video will explain the bait and switch. Here is the rub described by Project Medicare:
"Commercial health insurers and their investors have been profiting off the Medicare program long before Direct Contracting and REACH*. The so-called “Medicare Advantage” program allows these famously wasteful companies to administer health benefits for seniors and people with disabilities. It is likely that over half of Medicare beneficiaries will be under a Medicare Advantage plan in 2023.
"By nearly any measure, Traditional Medicare is a better deal for patients, doctors, and taxpayers. Beneficiaries may pay lower premiums up-front, but they can be burdened later on with high cost-sharing, narrow provider networks, and outright denials of care—burdens that they would not have to bear if they had enrolled in Traditional Medicare."
So if you have had enough, PNHP has some suggestions for you to help fight back against Medicare Advantage, which is draining the Medicare coffers to the advantage of only company stockholders and management. First of all, don't get snookered into Medicare Advantage. Look for Medigap policies such as mentioned above. Second, in the document under FILES below are some suggestions for action from the PNHP President Dr. Susan Rogers. Remember, the current administration continues to push these privatization programs. Let them know that privatization of Medicare is not an option for the future.
*See the following article describing the REACH program: “Medicare Direct Contracting Scam Renamed ACO REACH”