J. Michael McWilliams, assistant professor of health care policy and medicine at Harvard Medical School and a practicing general internist in the Division of General Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital is out this morning with an academic view of the subject I blogged about here last week: getting on Medicare is not simple.
The Harvard research compared choosing a Part C Medicare plan (also known now as Medicare Advantage after originally being called Medicare Choice) vs. Original Medicare (Parts A and B). McWilliam’s view:
“Most other Americans choose from just a few health plans, but elderly Medicare beneficiaries often have to sift through dozens of options… The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003… dramatically increased the number of private plans participating in the (Part C) program and encouraged (Part C) plans to compete for enrollees by offering lower premiums and more generous benefits, such as prescription drug coverage.”
I couldn’t agree more, as I said last week. I’m trying to get the actual research document so I can opine more. Although I agree with his finding as expressed in the press release, I actually think Part C is easier than choosing A & B and then having to pick a Gap plan and a D plan.
Remember last week’s flow chart (the official flow chart from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services). Medicare Advantage is actually the shorter branch of the decision tree, the one on the right hand side of the diagram.
But not every county has a good Part C option and/or your provider may not participate in it and/or it may change next year and/or… and so forth, and so forth…
Like I said I said, Medicare is not simple . Go to your senior center and ask for SHINE (SHIP outside Massachusetts).