Insurance Companies are starting to roll out the plan changes for 2010 and the trend is disturbing. Much like group and individual health insurance, Medicare Advantage plans are seeing increasing trends. The difference is that the Medicare Advantage companies are increasing rates and lowering benefits at the same time.
On Monday Aetna released their new plan changes for January 1, 2010 and the changes are substantial. They are raising premiums and increasing copays in order to deal with utilization of the plan last year. Others will be announcing changes soon and they will probably look similar to Aetna. Connecticare, HealthNet, Anthem (Mediblue is back for 1-1-2010) and United will soon be announcing 2010 changes.
The initial assumption was that Medicare Advantage plans would not be taking on a high percentage of adverse risk as the plan has more out of pocket than most Medicare Supplements. After our first few years of renewals and plan changes it looks as though there has been more high risk and high utilization than expected. It will be very interesting to see how this affects Medicare Supplement Renewals.
It is rumored that Anthem BCBS is going to have a rate decrease on their High Deductible Medicare Supplement. If that turns out to be true, we should see a strong enrollment in that plan for 2010.
The same troubling sings are showing for Medicare Part D plans as third tier copay levels and monthly premiums continue to rise. Popularity for a specific plan in a given year seems to all but guarantee that it will be receiving a substantial benefit change/rate increase for the following year.