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Sen. Richard Burr, friend of low-income and minority Medicare recipients

Posted By Adam Linker On December 8, 2009 @ 3:01 pm In Uncategorized | Comments Disabled

imagesSen. Burr is fighting hard to maintain Medicare overpayments to private insurance companies.

But amid the usual silliness there was an interesting claim on his website:

The additional benefits provided by Medicare Advantage are particularly important to some of our nation’s most vulnerable seniors — a higher portion of seniors in Medicare Advantage are lower-income and minorities are more likely to enroll in these plans.

Apparently this is the latest factoid being circulated by insurance companies. Here’s what the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities says:

Question: Do private plans disproportionately enroll low-income and minority beneficiaries?

Answer: Despite the claims of private plans to the contrary over the last year,[23] low-income and minority beneficiaries generally do not enroll disproportionately in Medicare Advantage plans.[24] Beneficiaries with incomes below $10,000 enroll in Medicare Advantage to a lesser degree than other beneficiaries do, and African-American beneficiaries enroll in Medicare Advantage to about the same degree as other Medicare beneficiaries do. Moreover, for every racial/ethnic group, the number of Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in regular Medicare rather than in Medicare Advantage plans — and who consequently are charged higher Medicare premiums to help cover the cost of the Medicare Advantage overpayments — is about three to seven times greater than the number enrolled in Medicare Advantage.

For low-income and minority beneficiaries, the most common form of supplemental coverage (i.e., coverage that supplements Medicare) is Medicaid, not Medicare Advantage.

* Nearly half (48 percent) of all Medicare beneficiaries with incomes below $10,000 were enrolled in Medicaid in 2004, nearly five times the proportion enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans.
* Minority beneficiaries also are much more likely to be enrolled in Medicaid than Medicare Advantage. In 2004, most Asian-American Medicare beneficiaries (58 percent) and a plurality of African-American (30 percent) and Hispanic beneficiaries (34 percent) received supplemental coverage through Medicaid. By contrast, the percentages of minority beneficiaries enrolled in private plans — 14 percent of Asian Americans, 13 percent of African Americans and 25 percent of Hispanics — were considerably smaller.

African American and Asian American beneficiaries make up the same or a smaller proportion of Medicare Advantage enrollment than they do of the overall Medicare population. Hispanics are modestly more likely to enroll in Medicare Advantage, but this simply reflects where they live.[25] Half of all Hispanic Medicare Advantage enrollees live in California and Florida. In those states, the proportion of people enrolled in managed care plans — through employer-based coverage as well as through Medicare — is higher than in other parts of the country.[26]

Another zero five Burr claim. I can barely write fast enough to keep up with the misinformation streaming out of Burr’s office.


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