Medicare advantage: The case for protecting patient choice

Medicare Advantage, the new system of competing private health plans created under the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, is a success, with roughly one out of every five Medicare participants enrolled in such plans, says Robert E. Moffit, Director of the Center for Health Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation.


  • By enrolling in Medicare Advantage plans, seniors are able to purchase an integrated health plan with richer benefits and prescription drug coverage while paying only one premium and one set of co-payments.
  • For many seniors, this option is far superior to staying in traditional Medicare and paying a second premium for another health plan to supplement Medicare benefits.
  • The plan also offers varied options including health maintenance organizations (HMOs); local and regional preferred provider organizations (PPOs); private fee-for-service (PFFS) plans; and, as of 2007, medical savings account (MSA) plans.

    Further, seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage are progressively getting better value for their health care dollars. Based on an analysis of additional health benefits, including drug, hospital, and physician services, as well as premium savings in the Medicare Advantage system, officials at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) estimate that Medicare beneficiaries are, on average, getting additional benefits in the program worth more than $90 per month, or $1,100 per year.

    Source: Robert E. Moffit, Medicare Advantage: The Case for Protecting Patient Choice, Heritage Foundation, March 6, 2008.

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    FMF Policy Bulletin/ 18 March 2008
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