Medicare Benefits Boost

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Physician's Money Digest, March31 2004, Volume 11, Issue 6

One result of the Medicare reformlaw that President Bush signed recentlyis that HMOs will be getting higherreimbursements from the federal governmentto provide coverage to seniors. Asa result, some managed care organizationshave already announced rate cutsand better benefits for at least 1.2 millionseniors enrolled in MedicareHMOs. Along with the premium cuts,many HMOs will cut copayments forphysician visits and add prescriptiondrug coverage. That's good news for atleast some of the 4.6 million Medicarebeneficiaries enrolled in such plans, whohave been given the short end of the stickin recent years, during which timethey've faced premium increases, benefitcuts, and even loss of coverage. Since1999, Medicare HMOs have droppedabout 2.2 million seniors from their rollsbecause of declining reimbursementsfrom the government.