Medicare insurance cost to go down, not up

stethescope and money
stethescope and money

The seemingly impossible is happening in health care. A cost is going down, not up. The government today announced that lucky beneficiaries of the decline are Medicare recipients who take additional coverage from private insurers. The cost for that coverage will decline 1% in 2011.

Even better, officials said benefits will increase, as the costs are going down. A year ago, those same premiums rose 15%.

"Despite lots of predictions of gloom and doom, we are pleased to announce a program that is stronger than ever before," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told reporters today.

The cost decrease is for Medicare Advantage plans that Medicare recipients can buy to cover some costs Medicare itself doesn't pay. About a quarter of Medicare recipients buy the plans which average about $30 a month. The number of Medicare recipients buying the plans is expected to grow 5% next year.

Sebelius and officials of the government's Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services cite the health care reform law for the changes. The law let the government start negotiating coverage with Medicare Advantage insurers and also banned insurers from imposing higher charges for some kinds of care.