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  • The Medicare Bureaucracy: Ready To Disrupt Seniors’ Drug Coverage

    “If you like your health care plan you can keep it.”  This was a mantra from President Obama throughout the health care debate.  The President also promised that his health care overhaul would not affect seniors’ benefits.

    But, despite all the promises, a new report from Avalere Health shows that, in addition to the upheaval caused by Obamacare, the Medicare bureaucracy is taking administrative steps to change the Medicare drug program that will have adverse impact on seniors’ choices.  Millions of seniors will have to switch their prescription drug plans due to changes within Medicare.  Avalere is a private research firm founded by a former budget official from the Clinton Administration.

    Its analysis shows that more than 3 million seniors—roughly 20 percent of those enrolled in stand-alone drug plans—won’t be able to keep their current plan.  According to the AP’s Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, some of seniors’ drug plans will be eliminated as “Medicare tries to winnow down duplicative and confusing coverage, in order to offer consumers more meaningful choices.”

    But what ‘more meaningful choice’ really means is fewer choices.  And for many seniors who like their current prescription drug coverage, it will mean making a new choice altogether, whether they want to or not.

    According to Bonnie Washington, one of Avalere’s senior analysts, “those who have to change plans could experience some disruption and inconvenience.”

    Medicare officials tried to pooh-pooh the study.  Said Deputy Administrator Jonathan Blum: “Anybody who is producing that kind of analysis is simply guessing.”  However, Avalere claims that it used Medicare’s own specifications to produce its findings.

    The extent to which the change will disrupt seniors’ drug benefits will depend on Medicare’s strategy for implementing the transition.  But what is crystal clear is that a transition will be necessary.  If Medicare eliminates coverage options, seniors will inevitably have to change their drug plans—not withstanding presidential promises to the contrary.

    This post was co-authored by Margot Crouch.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    7 Responses to The Medicare Bureaucracy: Ready To Disrupt Seniors’ Drug Coverage

    1. Trea Graham says:

      As a newly retired (4/1/2010) senior, I have already run amuck of the health care system around my prescription drugs. God forbid the system, ponderous as it is now, gets any more mucky. I just hope I can keep my mind sharp and persistence level high to deal with what will be galling changes and shuffling.

    2. Drew Page, IL says:

      You open this article with the reminder of Mr. Obama's promises. Why? Is this just to show another example of his dishonesty? Believe me, there are more than enough examples.

      The example you cite about Medicare drug coverage is only one more of the hundreds of examples where Mr. Obama has either lied, or didn't know what he was talking about.

    3. Bill Batte, Bartlett says:

      Stop calling "Health Insurance" "Health Care", please!

      Health Care is what your doctors, nurses, hospitals and hospital staffs provide.

      Health Insurance is a policy to offset medical bills.

      They are not equal no matter how often the president says it. The problem of increasing medical costs is not fixed by reducing Medicare payments. Price control and price caps do not work.

      Forty years ago most doctor visits were paid out-of-pocket. Before health insurance became popular and wide-spread.

    4. Bill Batte, Bartlett says:

      Health care and car care are similar in this point. The individual has the most impact on their own health and their own car. The insurance comes in only after there is a major incident with large costs associated.

    5. Billie says:

      Please! I mean no offense, but what this government is doing to the most vulnerable of society is as despicable as disgust. They don't even EMPATHIZE WITH THEIR OWN PARENTS! Seniors should be protected not exploited! I can't imagine immigrants or the people government calls minorities are put on this same roller coaster?

    6. Sally, KY says:

      I have been covered under Medicare for one month now, including a precription drug plan. Although I und3stand it may not be true in all areas like it is in mine, when shopping for thedrug plan, rather than having too few choices, I found far too many! I am newly 65 and computer literate and did my own research on the Medicare website. In the process, I found that one could easily become too overwhelmed to make an informed choice of plans because if the multitude of choices available. Hence, I just do not see why fewer choices would make much difference, no matter why that might happen. By the way, how many of you who are shouting about this under Obamacare have actually been shopping for this drug plan or even perhaps helped a family member who was older, new to it and not understanding much at all about any of it?

    7. Bobbie says:

      I tried, Sally! Please pardon if it offends, but it was hell. My older liberal, government loving sibling stepped in…

      my father sees the doctor as little as possible. I can't begin to tell you how poor my father's health has become since he's been on the government's plan. I picture the government paying the doctor a going rate and the doctor taking short cuts everywhere he can. One of the doctors short cuts landed my father with a massive heart attack he scarcely survived. Ignorance and a diagnosis of "oh it's just a pinched nerve" with 4 more visits diagnosing the same, was the doctors biggest downfall and my father can do nothing but have another and suffer for the rest of his life. FYI healthy, non-smoker, occasional drink, perfect weight, before the doctor failed to check out his symptoms the first, second, third and fourth time..

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