Medicare Advantage enrollment to increase 10% in 2012

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Sept. 26, 2011

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Participation in private Medicare insurance programs is expected to grow by 10% in 2012, the Dept. of Health and Human Services announced on Sept. 15. Average premiums also would drop 4% in 2012, or 11.5% below 2010 rates, according to projections.

HHS officials expect more patients to take advantage of lower premiums during Medicare's annual open enrollment period, which takes place from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. In 2010, 11.7 million of the 47.5 million Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in the private health plans, according to Medicare trustees. In 2011, an estimated 12.4 million enrolled in the private plans.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will pay more to private Medicare Advantage plans that provide higher quality care in 2012. All patients would have access to preventive services, including Medicare's annual wellness visit, without paying co-pays or deductibles.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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