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Charlotte Area News

NC Among States With Highest Medicare Advantage Turnover In 2015

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North Carolina has the fourth-highest percentage of people whose Medicare Advantage plans will no longer be offered next year, according to a report from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Medicare Advantage is basically private insurance on the government's dime. Insurance companies submit bids to offer plans, the federal government says yes or no, and then seniors pick the plan they want. Medicare still covers the cost.

Compared to other states, North Carolina has a particularly high percentage of seniors whose plans are going away next year. Gretchen Jacobson researches Medicare Advantage for the Kaiser Family Foundation. 

"In North Carolina in 2015, 17 percent of people who are currently enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans will need to pick another Medicare Advantage plan or they can go back to traditional Medicare," she says.

Jacobson says some turnover is standard, but North Carolina's rate is way above the national average. She says it comes down to business decisions for insurance companies.

Of the 57,000 North Carolinians losing plans, BlueCross BlueShield is responsible for about 50,000 of them. A company spokeswoman says BlueCross considered federal reimbursement rates and revenue reductions in making the decision.