Proposed New Regulations Affecting Medicare Part D, Medicare Advantage Raise Concerns for Beneficiaries
Public Comment Period Open Until March 7
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued proposed regulations that would bring about significant changes to Medicare Advantage and to the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. Organizations representing patients and healthcare providers are raising serious concerns about the proposed rules and how they will affect programs that have been extremely effective in strengthening patient health and containing taxpayer and beneficiary costs. These groups recommend strongly that the proposed regulations be rescinded and that they are prepared to work with CMS to develop more productive approaches that build on the strengths of Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D without harming beneficiaries. The proposed rules can be found here or a summary can be found here and public comments can be submitted electronically at www.regulations.gov. Refer to file code CMS—4159—P.
The Healthcare Leadership Council has developed a group sign-on letter, currently with 371 signatories, asking CMS to withdraw the Part C-D Proposed Rule. The letter underscores that the rule would adversely affect healthcare costs and access for beneficiaries and undermine the stability of the Part D program. The letter can be found here. (The letter is featured in a February 26 advertisement in Politico, seen here.)
Updated versions of the letter will be sent to CMS on a regular basis until the comment period closes on March 7. If your company or organization would like to sign the letter, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Avalere Health released a report earlier this week that shows that one provision alone will impact nearly all beneficiaries with an enhanced plan. The report states, "The anticipated change in policy would impact 7.4 million of the 7.9 million Medicare beneficiaries who are currently enrolled in an enhanced plan...." The full report can be found here
Medicare Part D enrollees in plans with preferred pharmacy networks stand to see their costs increase because the CMS proposed rule limits the ability of Part D plans to negotiate prices with pharmacies. A list of how many Part D beneficiaries will be affected in each of the nation’s congressional districts can be found here.
Click here for a directory of useful resources regarding the proposed changes to Medicare Part D.
Survey: Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Earns High Marks 10 Years After Enactment
Nine out of 10 seniors are satisfied with coverage; Opportunities to improve program awareness exist across key demographic constituencies
Washington, DC – Approaching the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Medicare prescription drug benefit (Part D), a nationally representative survey released today finds that an overwhelming nine out of 10 seniors with Medicare prescription drug coverage are satisfied. Ninety-seven percent report that their coverage works well, and nearly three out of four seniors say it works “very well.” Additionally, the survey results show that overall satisfaction remains constant at 90 percent from the previous year and in line with the upward trend from 78 percent to 90 percent seen since the Part D program was first implemented in 2006.
“Ten years after becoming law, it is clear that seniors remain happy with their Part D coverage and that the program is meeting their healthcare needs,” said Mary R. Grealy, Chairman of Medicare Today and President of the Healthcare Leadership Council. “While we must do more to improve overall awareness of program options and resources, we are seeing consistently high satisfaction rates across all major demographic groups surveyed. This demonstrates the important role that Medicare Part D plays in the lives of seniors and people with disabilities. Congress should note this fact before considering any proposed changes to Part D.” Learn More »
Congressional Letters Underscore Importance of Protecting Medicare Drug Coverage
Members of Congress are lending their names to letters that emphasize the importance of protecting affordable Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage for seniors and beneficiaries with disabilities. It is critical, as these letters make clear, that Congress not undermine the structure that has made the Part D program enormously popular among seniors and that has kept costs affordable for both beneficiaries and taxpayers.
How to Enroll
Medicare "Part D" is a collection of prescription drug coverage plans. Finding the Medicare plan that best matches your needs and enrolling is simple.
To enroll call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227) to speak with a Medicare counselor. When you call, make sure you have on hand:
- A list of the prescription drugs you take, including the dosage and frequency
- Your Medicare ID card
- The name and phone number of your preferred pharmacy
The Social Security Administration can also provide assistance for those who qualify for additional help. Call 1-800-772-1213 to check your status. Learn More »
Medicare Drug Benefit Stories
- Open Enrollment for Medicare Part D in 2013 has ended. There are special circumstances in which you can enroll or change plans. Learn more here
- March 1, 2014
Mandatory government spending reductions under “sequestration” take effect. For more information, click here
- October 15, 2014
Medicare open enrollment period begins
- December 7, 2014
- Medicare open enrollment period ends
- January 1, 2015
Changes made during open enrollment period take effect
News | Medicare Tomorrow
- February 7, 2014 - Organizations Participate in Medicare Part D Tele-Town Hall | Event Audio
- November 5, 2013 - Third Way releases paper, “How Medicare Part D Beat The Odds – And Why Policymakers Should Care” .
- October 23, 2013 - National Tele-Town Hall What's the Latest on Medicare? | Listen to event Audio.
- September 19, 2013 - National Tele-Town Hall Medicare Part D Rx Benefit Annual Satisfaction Survey | Listen to event Audio.
- July 25, 2013 - Organizations Participate in Medicare Part D Tele-Town Hall | Listen to event Audio
- June 26, 2013 - Organizations Participate in Medicare Part D Tele-Town Hall | Listen to event Audio
- May 23, 2013 - Organizations Participate in Medicare Part D Tele-Town Hall | Listen to event Audio
- April 25, 2013 - Organizations Participate in Medicare Part D Tele-Town Hall | Listen to event Audio
- April 25, 2013 - Over 500 Organizations Representing Patients, Healthcare Providers, Employers Urge Congress to Eliminate IPAB - letter to Capitol Hill Says Independent Payment Advisory Board would “severely limit Medicare beneficiaries’ access to care”
- March 21, 2013 - CMS Medicare chief Jonathan Blum touted improved drug adherence as a Medicare cost saver in an Inside Health article.
- March 21, 2013 - Organizations Participate in Medicare Part D Tele-Town Hall | Listen to event Audio
- March 20, 2013 - More Than 400 Innovative Medicines in Development For Top Chronic Diseases Affecting Older Americans-Two Reports Show Progress in Treatment Options for Chronic Disease. report | overview
Medicare Today E-Card
Send your senior friends, family and neighbors turning 65 years old this year a reminder to enroll in the Medicare prescription drug benefit.
Call: 1-800 MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)
About Medicare Today
HLC launched the Medicare Today program in November 2004 to reach out to Medicare beneficiaries who needed reliable information on how to get the greatest value from their Medicare benefits. Medicare Today administers the partnership of over 400 national and local organizations including American Academy of Family Physicians, and National Alliance for Hispanic Health.