Healthways Watching Medicare Advantage Debate in Congress

Cuts to Medicare Advantage could have a significant impact on Nashville-based Healthways.

The company’s Silver Sneakers fitness program was specifically designed for seniors on Medicare. It’s offered nationwide by Advantage, or Part C plans, which funnel Medicare benefits through private insurers. Members of the plans often pay additional premiums. In exchange, they get benefits beyond traditional Medicare.

Congress is looking at the plans as a place to trim entitlement spending. A proposal under consideration would cut 117-billion dollars from Medicare Advantage over the next decade.

Healthways CEO Ben Leedle says the company is watching the debate in Washington closely to see just what where those cuts will be made.

“Depending on how Medicare Advantage and where fitness center benefits fit- you can bet that we’re not sitting still assuming everything will just stay the same.”

Leedle says the company hasn’t seen any drop in the number of Silver Sneakers contracts so far. In fact, in the last several months five insurance plans have signed on to add the benefit for seniors. He says the earliest the changes might impact Healthways is 2011.

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