For all the current focus on Obamacare lurching into its infancy, 50-year-old Medicare is also undergoing profound and disruptive change as Congress struggles with soaring medical bills and a growing senior population.
Roz Vellines attends her local YMCA three times a week for an exercise class in the swimming pool — a $43-per-month perk from her AARP Medicare plan.
"I love it," said Vellines, 70. Classmates "are my Y family. Some of these ladies don't have much other contact with people.''
But come Jan. 1, Vellines will lose her free ride. Her insurance plan is dropping the popular fitness program Silver Sneakers.
"It's pretty dumb,'' Vellines said. "They are supposed to be promoting health.''
AARP Medicare plans, administered by insurance giant UnitedHealthCare, have been under scrutiny lately for belt tightening, ranging from dropping Silver Sneakers to dropping thousands of physicians from their networks. Major providers like Moffitt Cancer Center and St. Luke's Cataract and Laser Institute are out for 2014.
As a result, many of AARP's 50,000 Tampa Bay customers have indicated they will drop their plans during Medicare's current open enrollment.
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Source: Tampa Bay Times