February 19, 2020

Cortez Masto, Crapo, Risch Lead Bipartisan Call to Support Medicare Advantage

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), along with 61 of their colleagues, sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma expressing support for the Medicare Advantage program. Nationwide, 3,148 Medicare Advantage plans will be available for individual enrollment for the 2020 plan year.

“Health care is one of Nevadans’ top concerns, which is why I want to make sure that seniors and individuals with disabilities have meaningful choices when it comes to managing their health,” said Cortez Masto. “Medicare Advantage provides flexibility to almost a third of Medicare recipients in Nevada, and I will keep pushing to protect and expand Nevadans’ ability to access high-quality care.”

“Different Medicare Advantage plans allow beneficiaries to select a health plan that best suits their individual budget and health needs,” said Crapo. “Given the successes of Medicare Advantage for many in Idaho and across the nation, maintaining and strengthening it will ensure its long-term stability.”

“Medicare Advantage plans provide seniors with health care solutions tailored to fit their individual needs,” said Risch. “Patients deserve access to diverse high-quality plans, not government consolidation into one-size-fits-all health coverage. Medicare Advantage is a proven success that helps provide Idaho’s seniors with the quality coverage they deserve.”

The letter reads in part, “Millions of seniors and individuals with disabilities depend on Medicare Advantage for their comprehensive health care coverage. Enthusiasm for the program remains strong, with more than 94 percent of enrollees reporting high satisfaction with their plan. This year, average premiums are expected to decline by 14 percent, the lowest average premium since 2007, while enrollment is projected to increase to more than 24 million.”

Full text of the letter can be found HERE and below.

Dear Administrator Verma:

We write to express support for the Medicare Advantage program and the high-quality care that participating plans provide to 22 million seniors and individuals with disabilities. We appreciate the Administration’s work to preserve and strengthen the program for current and future beneficiaries. As annual updates are considered for plan year 2021, we ask you to provide Medicare Advantage plans the incentives and flexibility to offer affordable, patient-centered options, including to beneficiaries with End Stage Renal Disease who have the opportunity to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan for the first time.

Millions of seniors and individuals with disabilities depend on Medicare Advantage for their comprehensive health care coverage. Enthusiasm for the program remains strong, with more than 94 percent of enrollees reporting high satisfaction with their plan. This year, average premiums are expected to decline by 14 percent, the lowest average premium since 2007, while enrollment is projected to increase to more than 24 million. Further, the average number of Medicare Advantage plan choices continues to increase, with 93 percent of beneficiaries having access to a plan that includes prescription drug coverage for no additional premium.

We appreciate your efforts to facilitate plan offerings including care coordination, disease management programs, out-of-pocket spending limits, innovative benefit designs, and plan flexibility to fit seniors’ specific needs. In 2020, more beneficiaries will have access to telehealth and home and community-based services, such as adult day care and in-home support services, food assistance, transportation and home modifications. We look forward to working with the Administration to ensure that beneficiaries are easily able to shop for a plan that fits their needs on the redesigned Plan Finder website, and understand their ability to switch plans when appropriate.

For plan year 2021, we encourage you to implement policies that incentivize quality improvements, ensure program stability and appropriate oversight, support value-based payment arrangements with providers, and ease enrollment processes to enhance beneficiary experience and increase access to coverage.

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