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Capitol Health Call
August 8, 2007

Medicare Advantage Attacked

JAMA. 2007;298(6):618. doi:10.1001/jama.298.6.618-c

The Medicare Advantage program, which promises lower out-of-pocket costs and greater coverage of services, is not living up to its claims, said Rep Pete Stark (D, Calif), who introduced legislation to address these problems.

Stark, who is chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, said some enrollees are finding that Medicare Advantage plans are charging more than traditional Medicare for many services, such as hospital stays, chemotherapy, and durable medical equipment. To change this environment, Stark introduced legislation on June 28, the Medicare Advantage Truth in Advertising Act (HR 2945 [http://thomas.loc.gov]), that would ensure enrollees will not face higher out-of-pocket costs than seen in traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Medicare Advantage plans include health maintenance organizations (HMO), preferred provider organizations (PPO), private fee-for-service plans, and Medicare medical savings account plans.

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