Automatic enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans drawing scrutiny

Update on 10/24/16: CMS suspended acceptance of new seamless conversion applications on October 21st, and said it will be reviewing its application procedures. CMS also released data on Medicare Advantage plans currently approved for seamless conversion. Most are managed care Medicaid plans that are doing seamless enrollment into Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans (SNPs). These are plans that serve – low-income seniors are dually-eligible for Medicaid and Medicare, as well as disabled individuals.

CMS posted an update on the suspension and newly-released data on its website.

The Medicare enrollment process is fraught with complicated choices – but one big decision could be made for you automatically by a health insurance company if you are not on your toes.

A little known rule allows some health insurance companies to automatically sign people up for Medicare Advantage plans – the managed care alternative to traditional Medicare. Under so-called seamless conversion, an insurer can seek permission from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) to auto-enroll members of its non-Medicare insurance plans when they reach 65, the age of Medicare eligibility.

Auto-enrollment might be convenient, but it short circuits one of the most important choices to be made when signing up for Medicare – whether to go with traditional fee-for-service Medicare, or an Advantage plan.

Learn more at Reuters Money.

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