It was beyond the scope of the present study to address problems of risk selection among the multiple Medicare choices and to recommend steps to correct for those problems. During its deliberations, however, the committee found that mechanisms to prevent or correct for risk selection are critical to the ultimate success of any system offering multiple health plan choices and that the existing Medicare AAPCC cannot be relied on to achieve success in this area.
The number and range of health plan choices being proposed for Medicare beneficiaries and variations in benefits, premiums, and marketing are likely to greatly increase the potential for risk selection among those offering the various Medicare choices. Since risk selection can seriously undermine the viabilities of the traditional Medicare program and individual plans, it is important that this problem be addressed and controlled.
Ultimately, the committee is concerned about incentives and the capability of physicians with a direct financial interest in a plan to recruit (or avoid) subscribers on the basis of whether that individual is a high- or low-level user of health services.
Enrollment and disenrollment guidelines, appeals and grievance procedures, and marketing rules should reflect Medicare beneficiaries' vulnerability and lack of understanding of traditional Medicare and Medigap insurance and their current lack of trust in important aspects of alternative health plans.
The committee found that numerous factors make it critical to facilitate the Medicare enrollment and disenrollment process in an environment of market competition and broader choice: