“If you try to use Medicare Advantage, figuring out which doctors are available (and where) can be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible,” Austin Frakt writes over at The New York Times. “Medicare Advantage is the government-subsidized, private alternative to the traditional public Medicare program. It has had strong enrollment growth for years. That growth has received a boost from the Trump administration, which has sent emails to people using Medicare to promote how much more coverage they could get for less money from private plans. Missing from those emails, however, is a mention of one big limitation of those plans: Many cover far fewer doctors than the traditional program. That may not be a problem if you can find a plan that includes doctors you prefer, or if you can find covered doctors in convenient locations. But that isn’t often the case, as government audits of Medicare Advantage plan directories show. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the program, found that nearly half of entries had one of three problems: address errors, incorrect phone numbers, or doctors who were not accepting new patients. In 2017, the Department of Justice reached a settlement with two Medicare Advantage plans over charges of misrepresentation of their networks to regulators.” Austin Frakt, “Even Researchers Don’t Know Which Doctors Medicare Advantage Covers,” The New York Times.
Jeanne Pinder is the founder and CEO of ClearHealthCosts. She worked at The New York Times for almost 25 years as a reporter, editor and human resources executive, then volunteered for a buyout and founded ClearHealthCosts.
She was previously a fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at the Columbia University School of Journalism. ClearHealthCosts has won grants from the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York; the International Women’s Media Foundation; the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with KQED public radio in San Francisco and KPCC in Los Angeles; the Lenfest Foundation in Philadelphia for a partnership with The Philadelphia Inquirer; and the New York State Health Foundation for a partnership with WNYC public radio/Gothamist in New York; and other honors.
Her TED talk about fixing health costs has surpassed 2 million views.