If you are enrolled in Medicare, or about to become of age to do so, you are likely receiving flyers through the post office or seeing endless ads on TV trying to lure you into a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. We are entering a period called open season, a term reminiscent of hunting season but with MA you are the target and private insurers are out to get you and cash in on the process. Bait traps are legal for these poachers who literally steal between $124 and $140 billion dollars from Medicare each year. This money could have gone directly to pay for treatment of Medicare patients, but instead it flows into the coffers of private insurance companies.
I have written about MA before on this site. You can read those pieces below at LINKS. If you also want a quick tour d'horizon of MA and its brazen daylight robbery of Medicare, you should watch this 40 minute video “Don’t let naked profiteering destroy our Medicare” by Dr. Ed Weisbart, who explains the inherent problems with Medicare Advantage. Better to spend 40 minutes now watching the video than to spend years fighting your MA private plan for payment for treatment you need and your doctor has prescribed.
HANDING PUBLIC HEALTH CARE TO PRIVATE INSURERS: The Dangers of So-Called “Medicare Advantage” is a flyer put out by Physicians for a National Health Plan. The flyer brings to the fore three points:
"DECEIVING TAXPAYERS. Reports from journalists, researchers, and government agencies have shown that health insurance companies, like UnitedHealth and Cigna, overcharge Medicare by giving patients exaggerated or entirely false diagnoses. Several companies have been fined, or sued, and agreed to large settlements. MA insurers are taking your tax dollars for conditions they aren’t even treating.
"DENYING TREATMENT. Investigations into MA claim denials found that insurers were inappropriately denying treatment and tests that should be covered under Medicare. Physician surveys show that these practices often cause patients to suffer unnecessarily, and can even be life-threatening. In some cases, MA insurers were found to spend just seconds on each claim, and even denied claims using artificial intelligence instead of medical experts.
“DISMANTLING MEDICARE. Over 50% of Medicare beneficiaries now have for-profit corporations in charge of their care through MA. Insurance companies are paid handsomely for these plans, and much of that money goes to corporate profits instead of care. The companies running MA plans want to take over Medicare entirely, leaving you with no option but to give your money to private insurers.”
Instead of Medicare Advantage from insurance privateers, you can opt for a Medigap policy if you fulfill certain criteria. This is especially easy and advantageous for those who are just signing up for Medicare. Obtaining Medigap coverage in later years is possible but coverage is likely to be more restrictive and expensive. You can learn more about Medigap coverage at the Medicare.gov site Get Medigap Basics.
Don’t fall prey to the MA pamphlet scammers and the TV hucksters. Be informed.