» This Story:Read +|Watch +| Comments
Post Politics
New home.
Still the best political coverage.

Health-Care Overhaul 2010

Tracking the national health-care debate | More »


Network News

X Profile
View More Activity
Thursday, September 24, 2009

Medicare Advantage is a private health insurance program designed to compete with the government-run Medicare program. Both insure people age 65 and older and some younger, disabled people.

This Story
View All Items in This Story
View Only Top Items in This Story

Under Medicare Advantage, the government contracts with private insurers, which offer policies that cover doctor visits, hospitalization and sometimes prescription medications. Medicare Advantage plans must offer at least the same benefits as traditional Medicare, but many providers include more in a bid to attract customers.

Such plans were introduced in the 1970s in an effort to cut Medicare costs. However, as the government sought to add coverage in underserved -- often rural -- areas, costs soared. According to the independent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, Medicare Advantage now costs the government 14 percent more per beneficiary than traditional Medicare.

This year, 23 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.

-- Madonna Lebling

» This Story:Read +|Watch +| Comments

More in the Politics Section

Campaign Finance -- Presidential Race

2008 Fundraising

See who is giving to the '08 presidential candidates.

Latest Politics Blog Updates

© 2009 The Washington Post Company

Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity