Medicare Advantage defies the forecast with rapid growth

If we used tennis scoring to track the progress of healthcare reform, this would be the moment to declare: advantage Advantage.

Obamacare opponents have been warning for several years now that Medicare Advantage, the private plan option that seniors can pick instead of traditional fee-for-service Medicare, would fail because of the healthcare law’s impact on the program. The prediction was that the gradual elimination of extra federal reimbursements to Medicare Advantage would kill it.

But the opposite is happening.

Advantage plans, which combine Part A (hospitalization) Part B (outpatient services) and usually Part D (prescription drugs), are on a big-time roll. Enrollment has jumped an impressive 10 percent in each of the past three years, according to data compiled by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), a non-profit healthcare research and policy organization. About 28 percent of all Medicare enrollees this year are in an Advantage plan.

Savings on premium costs are a major driver of the growth, but experts warn seniors to look beyond premiums when considering using Advantage instead of traditional fee-for-service Medicare.

Learn more at Reuters Money.