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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Harrop: Rx may be Medicare Advantage for all

In developing a health care system that is universal, provides high-quality care and is affordable, we need not make a fetish out of copying the Canadian model.

It’s a Medicare surprise for senior citizens not paying attention

A special Medicare provision that allows private health insurance companies to enroll individuals who become eligible for Medicare into their Medicare Advantage coverage is costing surprised patients lots of money, according to news reports. The little known rule, called “seamless conversion,” means some health insurance companies are automatically signing members of its non-Medicare insurance plans into their Medicare plans when they reach 65, the age of Medicare eligibility.

Medicare Advantage enrollment deadline looms

Millions of Medicare Advantage customers are fast approaching a deadline for a task they’d rather avoid: researching and then settling on coverage plans for 2015. The annual enrollment window for the privately run versions of the government’s Medicare program for elderly and disabled people closes on Sunday. This is the main opportunity most customers have each year to adjust their health coverage, and it may be worth paying extra attention to the details.

Medicare Advantage plans require scrutiny

Ominous warnings about Medicare Advantage plans have sounded for more than a year now. Health insurers say federal funding cuts to these privately run versions of Medicare will force them to whack plan benefits, hike premiums or leave some geographic markets entirely as they continue to fight rising health care costs. The government is paring back the money it provides for this coverage as part of its effort to fund the health care overhaul, which aims to cover millions of uninsured people.

Patients find disadvantage to private Medicare plans

MIAMI – Cecile Sangiamo liked her health insurance – until she needed to use it. The 72-year-old Clearwater, Fla., resident had been on the federally subsidized, privately run Medicare Advantage policy through WellCare Inc. for about three years when she started having pain that made it hard to walk.