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The Role of Private Plans in Medicare

Enrollment in private health plans has grown sharply since the enactment of the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003, which created a Medicare drug benefit to be provided by private plans and created incentives for new private plans to enter the Medicare market.

Today, virtually all Medicare beneficiaries–including those living in rural areas–have access to one or more private plans (known as Medicare Advantage plans), such as a Medicare HMO, PPO, special-needs plan or a private fee-for-service plan. A record 8.3 million beneficiaries are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan, up from 5.3 million in 2003.

To explore specific aspects of the Medicare private plan marketplace, the Kaiser Family Foundation commissioned four papers:

Private Plans in Medicare: A 2007 Update

icon_reports_studies.gifAn Examination of Medicare Private Fee-for-Service Plans

icon_reports_studies.gifMedicare Consumer-Directed Health Plan: Medicare MSAs and HSA-like Plans in 2007

icon_reports_studies.gifMedicare Payments and Beneficiary Costs for Prescription Drug Coverage

In addition, Kaiser held a March 16 policy workshop at its Washington, D.C., offices to discuss the growth in private fee-for-service Medicare plans.

An archived webcast and transcript of the workshop is available online.