Medicare Advantage Plans: A Scam or a Viable Option?

Richard A Meyer
4 min readNov 27, 2023

Physicians for a National Health Program estimate, based on 2022 spending, that Medicare Advantage overcharges taxpayers by a minimum of 22% or $88 billion per year and potentially by up to 35% or $140 billion. By comparison, Part B premiums 2022 totaled approximately $131 billion, and overall federal spending on Part D drug benefits cost roughly $126 billion. A 2021 analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that for a hospital stay of six days, most of those on Medicare Advantage would incur higher costs than they would with Original Medicare.

“Every year, tens of thousands of people enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans are denied necessary care that should be covered under the program. Tens of millions of denials are issued each year for both authorization and reimbursements, and audits of the private insurers show evidence of” widespread and persistent problems related to inappropriate denials of services and payment,” an investigation found.”Every year, tens of thousands of people enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans are denied necessary care that should be covered under the program. Tens of millions of denials are issued each year for both authorization and reimbursements, and audits of the private insurers show evidence of “widespread and persistent problems related to inappropriate denials of services and payment,” an investigation found.

Medicare Advantage plans are sold assiduously by celebrity pitchmen as a better way for Americans who qualify for Medicare to get insurance coverage. Many plans add services such as dental and hearing care and wellness programs not offered under traditional Medicare, for which beneficiaries pay extra.

Medicare Advantage plans have grown in popularity recently, with enrollment more than doubling nationwide since 2013. One explanation: The programs are often cheaper than a Medicare supplement, sometimes called Medigap.

Brokers selling the so-called advantage plans aren’t the only ones making money on them. UnitedHealth Group, the largest Medicare Advantage provider with 7.6 million people in its plans, generated $257 billion in premium revenues in 2022, some 13% over the previous year. The company’s financial filings said a significant driver of that growth was its Medicare Advantage plans.

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Richard A Meyer

Marketing and Political thought leader — Writer- Audiophile