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LETTER: Another reason to pass health act, Thomas Farris, Jr, Riverdale Press

Under the headline “Insurers game Medicare system to boost federal bonus payments,” The Wall Street Journal reported on March 11 a practice called “cross-walking,” where insurance companies routinely shift millions of seniors in lower-rated Medicare Advantage plans to higher-rated plans so that the insurance companies might benefit from subsidies that the federal governments pays to higher-rated plans.

Sounds good, but the seniors are led to believe they will get higher value. In fact, they pay more and gain nothing in care — while insurance companies get more of our tax money to augment already record-breaking profits.

Apparently all the major insurance players participate in this “cross-walking” charade. The Wall Street Journal gave particular attention to Humana. When Humana got caught “cross-walking” seniors from Medicare plans that pay Humana less to those that give seniors less and pay Humana more, share prices plunged 5 percent — $1.4 billion drop in market capitalization. 

But share prices recovered completely upon news of increased enrollment in more profitable plans — that is, “cross-walking” 1.27 million seniors. 

Staggering numbers from the actuarial cons gaming the system.

Read the full letter here.


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