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Is Medicare Advantage a Bad Deal? (Guest: John Goodman)

July 25, 2022

Medicare Advantage plans are under attack following a report by the Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.

Medicare Advantage (MA) is under attack after a report by the Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General.  John Goodman, a health care economist, president of the Goodman Institute for Public Policy Research, and co-publisher of Health Care News, is a champion of MA plans. Goodman says the report looks at a tiny fraction of enrollees and fails to consider the overall popularity of MA.  Not only can MA save Medicare enrollees a significant amount of money; they are the closest thing to doing what all health care plans should do: cover the essentials when people really need the coverage, when they get sick. Don’t raise prices and overcover individuals.  MA plans are the only plans that seek out enrollees with particular health risks and are incentivized to provide care that matters.

Medicare Advantage plans have been around for a while. They can save seniors money because they are managed, inclusive plans and spare them the need to buy something called Medigap insurance. Medigap insurance covers things that traditional Medicare does not. But recently, MA plans have come under attack with critics saying they’re a bad deal.  In the discussion, Schieber and Goodman cover the following:

1. What is Medicare Advantage, how does it differ from traditional Medicare?
2. How do the plans work, sign up for a lifetime or can you go back and forth?
3. Why has Medicare Advantage been under attack most recently?
4. Let’s address the criticisms, first denial of authorized service
5. Are the risk payments a perverse incentive to declare someone sicker?
6. Are the plans accurately priced. Is the government paying more than it should?
7. Do you take a risk if you become critically ill and you’re in an MA plan?
8. What can be done to make MA better?

Goodman also discussed a new service at the Goodman Institute, the “Health Care Toolkit.” Political candidates can use it to become better educated about health care free-market reforms. 

Goodman defended Medicare Advantage in his column in Forbes:
Are America’s Best Health Plans Being Attacked Unfairly?
https://www.forbes.com/sites/johngoodman/2022/07/13/are-americas-best-health-plans-being-unfairly-attacked/?sh=3f67e3073974

Article Tags
Health Care
Author
AnneMarie Schieber is a research fellow at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Health Care News, Heartland's monthly newspaper for health care reform.
amschieber@heartland.org @HCPolicy
Author
John C. Goodman is president of the Goodman Institute for Public Policy Research