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Why Was Medicare Part C Created?

Published by Robert J Stillwell on August 16, 2023

Medicare Part C, otherwise known as Medicare Advantage, offers additional benefits which are not covered by Original Medicare. Some of the benefits which may be covered by Medicare Part C are vision, dental and hearing benefits. Medicare Part C is a program for providing Medicare benefits where the healthcare company pays for the benefits of the enrollees.

How Was Medicare Part C Created

The groundwork for Medicare Part C was laid with the Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act (TEFRA). TEFRA was a piece of legislation passed by the United States Congress in 1982, of which had numerous effects and the Medicare alterations were just one piece of the larger TEFRA bill. The Tax Equity and Fiscal Responsibility Act allowed for the contracting of health maintenance organizations to provide services to Medicare recipients paving the way for what would eventually become Medicare Part C (MA). While the passing of TEFRA in 1982 paved the way for health maintenance organizations to provide services to Medicare recipients, however; it was not until 1985 that these rules were implemented.

Medicare Part C was officially created in 1997 under the Balanced Budget Act (BBA). At the time, Medicare Part C was called Medicare+Choice. The purpose of the BBA was to reduce payment rates to plans, establish new risk-adjustment measures based on health status, and create an annual enrollment period. It was not until the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 (MMA) which Medicare+Choice was renamed to Medicare Advantage. Additionally, MMA was the act of congress which created Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage.

Why Was Medicare Part C Created?

Now that we know how Medicare Part C was created, we can examine why Medicare Part C was created. One of the reasons why Medicare Part C was created was to reduce the financial strain on Medicare funds by providing access to a variety of new health options to beneficiaries and thus incentivizing beneficiaries to join private health care plans as an alternative to the fee-for-service Medicare program. What this means is that as Medicare became more strained by the needs of recipients, the United States government turned to private institutions to help to create additional efficiencies. 

The additional benefit comes to the Medicare beneficiary. The creation of Medicare Part C, or Medicare Advantage, enabled enrolled Medicare recipients to have increased choice and options for their health coverage. This means Medicare recipients could receive coverage which they otherwise may not have received under traditional Medicare.

The United States Congress has continually changed what Medicare Part C has looked like over the past few decades to where we have arrived today with Medicare Advantage. At the end of the day, the reason for Medicare Advantage was to expand the coverage choices available to Medicare recipients, while also reducing the overall monetary strain on the Medicare system. For those who are just becoming eligible for Medicare, examining the Medicare Advantage Plans available to you with an insurance agent is a must. An experienced insurance agent can walk you through all of the changes to Medicare as well as the plans which are available to you. If you have more questions about Medicare Advantage Plans, you can always reach out to the Robert J Stillwell Agency.

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