Press Release             

Contact: Paul Precht
Director of Policy and Communications

September 15, 2009

Statement by Medicare Rights Center President Joseph Baker on AHIP study on
 Quality of Care in Medicare Advantage Plans

New York, NY—While a study released today by AHIP, the lobby group for private health insurers, on hospital readmissions in Medicare Advantage plans and Original Medicare does indicate that certain Medicare Advantage plans may be able to perform well, it does not make the case that care is consistently better in Medicare Advantage plans or that subsidies to these plans should continue. The study looked at hospital readmissions in only two states, California and Nevada, which have a long history of high quality HMOs, but the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee has shown that the increase in subsidies to Medicare Advantage plans (now paid on average 14 percent more per enrollees than Original Medicare) has led to an influx of new plans that do a worse job delivering care. The AHIP study also showed wide variation in hospital readmissions, including preventable readmissions, in different hospitals and in areas of the states served by different health plans. That argues for a payment system that rewards both hospitals and health plans for reducing preventable readmissions and other quality measures, as required in health reform legislation being considered by both the House and Senate, not for continuing the current system of subsidies to private insurers.

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Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives.


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