Average annual healthcare premiums and other out-of-pocket costs for Medicare+Choice enrollees have risen 10% in 2003 to $1,964, more than twice what they were in 1999, according to a study released today by the Commonwealth Fund, a New York-based healthcare research foundation. Medicare+Choice enrollees in relatively poor health are spending considerably more this year, about $5,305, and have experienced an even greater rate of cost increase over the past four years-140%. The report also found that average out-of-pocket spending for enrollees in Medicare PPO demonstration plans, which were launched by the CMS this year to give Medicare+Choice enrollees more plan options, will spend an average of $2,884 out-of-pocket this year, nearly 50% more than Medicare HMO enrollees. "As Congress debates the role of private plans in the future of the Medicare program, it should consider the eroding financial protection experienced under Medicare+Choice," said the study's co-author, Marsha Gold of Mathematica Policy Research, Princeton, N.J. -- by Laura B. Benko
Costs for Medicare+Choice enrollees rise
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