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Monitoring Medicare+Choice: What Have We Learned?: Findings and Operational Lessons for Medicare Advantage

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Abstract:

The role of private health plans in Medicare expanded substantially in 2004 under the Medicare Modernization Act, which builds on plan experience under Medicare+Choice. Medicare+Choice, recently renamed Medicare Advantage, was created in 1997 to offer more managed care choices for beneficiaries. Although sponsors originally hoped Medicare+Choice would lead to a greater role for private plans in Medicare, this report notes that the program is widely viewed as a failure, with plans leaving and beneficiaries having fewer, less attractive choices when the program ended in 2003 than they did when it began. As private plans continue to be a focal point for changing Medicare in the future, the researchers note that policymakers need a better understanding of the dynamics of the system to facilitate a successful transition in this latest effort.