Medicare Advantage

Federal auditor renews concerns of Medicare Advantage gaming

A blood pressure cuff, eye light, and ear tool hang on a wall in a doctor's office.
Medicare Advantage plans almost always add new patient diagnoses. Photo: Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A new federal audit presents more evidence that private Medicare Advantage plans are fudging the data about how sick their customers are, as a way to pull in more taxpayer dollars.

Details: Medicare Advantage plans received $6.7 billion in federal funding in 2017 based on diagnoses — like cancer or heart disease — that were not reflected in the actual care patients received, according to the report from the Office of Inspector General.

Go deeper: The war over Medicare Advantage audits heats up

People hate shopping for health insurance

Illustration of a plastic bag with "NO THANK YOU" printed multiple times on it alongside a health plus.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Americans rarely switch to new health plans when the annual insurance-shopping season comes around, even if they could have gotten a better deal.

The bottom line: People loathe shopping for health plans, and many are bad at it, for one major reason: "It's just too hard," Tricia Neuman, a Medicare expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation, told me last year.