Senior reporter Fred Schulte’s investigative series into systematic waste in the Medicare Advantage program has been awarded second place in the Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism, business category, for the second year in a row.
The awards recognize the previous year’s best health reporting in 11 categories, and are given by the Association of Health Care Journalists.
Schulte’s project for the Center found that billions of dollars paid to privately run Medicare Advantage plans are wasted every year through manipulation of “risk scores. “ Risk scores” are a formula meant to pay health plans more for sicker patients and less for healthy people – but the formula often pays too much. Medicare Advantage plans now cover more than 16 million seniors at an estimated cost to taxpayers of more than $150 billion last year.