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U.S. government sets 2.53 percent hike in 2020 payments to Medicare insurers

 U.S. government sets 2.53 percent hike in 2020 payments to Medicare insurers

By Caroline Humer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. government on Monday said it would increase by 2.53 percent on average 2020 payments to the health insurers that manage Medicare Advantage insurance plans for seniors and the disabled.

The rate, which affects how much insurers charge for monthly healthcare premiums, plan benefits and, ultimately, how much they profit, represents an increase over the 1.59 percent increase proposed by the Centres for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in February.

Medicare Advantage plans serve more than 20 million people, most of them aged 65 and older.

UnitedHealth Group Inc, Humana Inc, CVS Health Corp, through its acquisition of Aetna, and WellCare Health Plans Inc are the largest sellers of Medicare Advantage health insurance.

Under the program they are paid a set rate by the government to cover member healthcare costs.

The government raised the final payment rate from the proposed rate to reflect a new estimate for how much medical services costs would increase in 2020. Its final estimate of that growth rate is 5.62 percent versus 4.59 percent in its February proposal.

(Reporting by Caroline Humer; Editing by Bill Berkrot)

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Updated Date: Apr 02, 2019 03:06:07 IST

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