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Congress Asked To Take Action As HMOs Flee Managed See end of article for an opportunity to comment on MedicareChoice the system that was supposed to nations senior citizens will be lucky if it next year Thanks mainly to the increasing cost of drug benefit HMOs are exiting the program in Congress can save MedicareChoice experts believe have the political will to do so this election year This is not exactly a bolt out of the blue Last organizations chose not to renew their contracts for reduced service areas affecting more than 327000 79000 of whom were left without any Medicare The previous year nonrenewals and reductions beneficiaries -- leaving more than a tenth of them A recent Kaiser Family Foundation report on involuntarily disenrolled from their HMOs after beneficiaries fared well but nearly 40 percent and more than 20 percent had to find a new personal who experienced the greatest problems after their tended to be the under-age-65 disabled racial and beneficiaries the poor and near-poor and those Currently 62 million 16 percent of all Medicare Expensive red tape and inadequate government Medicare managed care program into code blue says in June by the Health Insurance Association of The papers author Bruce Merlin Fried former head program concludes that while Medicare HMOs receive increases the cost of medical care increases around cost of prescription drugs offered by most Medicare annually Inadequate payments as well as the government regulation are causing HMOs to withdraw Enrollment growth of private Medicare HMOs dropped to less than 1 percent in the first four months of most recent wave of withdrawals 86 HMOs have coverage since 1998 while another 112 have pulled Fried now a partner in the Washington law firm of findings not a surprise but a disappointment To counter the trend Fried urges Congress to HMOs to keep up with medical inflation and for HCFA the expense of prescriptive government regulation Congress to require HCFA to implement
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