While most beneficiaries fared all right, a sizable portion of those forced to change coverage because of HMOs' 1998 exodus from Medicare experienced disruptions in care and loss of benefits. In addition, Kaiser Family Foundation researchers found that those experiencing the most problems were those in poor health and those of low socioeconomic status. HMO withdrawals forced 400,000 Medicare beneficiaries to look for new coverage at the end of 1998; when this year ends, another 99 Medicare HMOs will leave the program or reduce service territory -- forcing 327,000 more beneficiaries to seek alternate coverage.
Disenrolled beneficiaries who
......now pay higher premiums: 22%
......had to find a new personal physician: 22%
SOURCE: SURVEY OF EXPERIENCES WITH MEDICARE HMOs, KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION, MENLO PARK, CALIF., 1999