HHS: Medicare Advantage enrollment is up, premiums down

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Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius

Enrollment in Medicare Advantage has jumped by 28% since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, federal health officials said Wednesday.

Premiums have dropped by 10%, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced.

Medicare Advantage covers one-forth of Medicare beneficiaries through contracts with private insurers. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius attributes the boost in enrollment to lowered Medicare Part D prescription drug costs and other cuts to the program authorized by the ACA.

The law also implemented federal funding cuts for the program, which administration officials said would save the government $136 billion over 10 years, The Hill reported.

Medicare Advantage plans cover skilled nursing facility stays following acute episodes and other post-acute care. MA also includes special needs plans for chronically ill and disabled individuals such as dual eligibles. Republicans raised concerns over an MA demonstration project in June that gave quality bonuses to plans with more stars.