print-only banner
The White House Skip Main Navigation
In Focus
News by Date
Federal Facts
West Wing

 Home > News & Policies > July 2001

The President’s Framework for Providing Reliable Health Insurance Options in Medicare

The President will work to provide seniors with more options to quickly access for obtaining the medical care they wantmodern medicine based on the following principle:

Principle #4: Medicare should provide better health insurance options, like those available to all Federal employees.

Medicare’s coverage should be improved to give beneficiaries the same kind of reliable health care options that all Federal employees and many other Americans enjoy. As in the Federal employees’ program and other successful programs:

  • Plans should be allowed to bid to provide Medicare’s required benefits at a competitive price, and beneficiaries who elect a less costly option should be able to keep most of the savings so that a beneficiary may pay no premium at all.
  • Medicare’s payment system should create a level playing field for all plans in areas where private plans are paid less today and should continue to encourage private plans to participate in areas where Medicare provides few choices.
  • The improved choice system should give beneficiaries useful and timely comparative information on the quality and total cost of all of their health care coverage options. Administrative burdens on private plans should be reduced while protecting patients’ rights to allow good insurance plans to focus on providing reliable, high-quality service for Medicare beneficiaries.
  • In areas where a significant share of seniors choose to get their benefits through private plans, the government’s share of Medicare costs should eventually reflect the average cost of providing Medicare’s required benefits in the private plans as well as the government plan. Low-income seniors should continue to receive more comprehensive support for their premiums and health care costs.