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Is United's shrinking Medicare provider network really due to federal cutbacks?


Seniors on fixed incomes worry and watch for cuts to Medicare benefits. But when Unitied Healthcare blamed federal cutbacks for reducing their access to healthcare providers that many of them depend on, did it tell the truth?

Health News Florida reports that the insurer, which sells AARP Medicare products, including HMO-style Medicare Advantage plans, "took out a full-page newspaper ad that blamed the decision to shrink provider networks in 2014 on reductions in federal funding."

But according to the Tampa Bay Times, "the federal government announced this year it is increasing payments to Medicare Advantage plans 3.3 percent, while still pursuing the goal of eventually bringing the cost of Advantage plans down to those of original Medicare."

In order to maintain profit margins, United and other insurers are turning to restricted provider networks as a hedge against rising healthcare costs. That will affect people under age 65 as well as over who depend on specialist care. Read the story. 



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