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More Good News for Medicare

Earlier this week, I highlighted a new story from the Associated Press indicating that seniors who hit the prescription drug coverage gap known as the donut hole will save an average of $600 this year alone.

Today, we got more good news for people with Medicare. Released today, a new report from the Government Accountability Office requested by Senators Baucus and Harkin finds that more seniors are enrolling in Medicare Advantage and that premiums are going down. The report examined changes in the Medicare Advantage program between 2010 and 2011. Here are a few of the highlights:

Access to Medicare Advantage Remains Strong, with more people enrolled in Medicare Advantage this year:

“Enrollment in the MA plans GAO analyzed increased by about 6 percent--from 7.9 million to 8.4 million beneficiaries--from April 2010 through April 2011.”

Medicare Advantage premiums are going down:

“The average monthly premium for beneficiaries in MA plans decreased from $28 in 2010 to $24 in 2011, about a 14 percent reduction.”

President Obama is committed to making Medicare stronger and today’s report is another sign that the Affordable Care Act is working for America’s seniors. In addition to lower premiums, seniors can get free preventive services like mammograms and other cancer screenings and a free annual wellness visit. And in the years ahead, the prescription drug coverage gap known as the donut hole will be eliminated.

You can learn more about Medicare and the Affordable Care Act at And click here to read the full report from the GAO, entitled MEDICARE ADVANTAGE: Enrollment Increased from 2010 to 2011 While Premiums Decreased and Benefit Packages Were Stable.

Nancy-Ann DeParle is the Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff