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Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are increasingly dropping doctors and other health care providers from their contracted networks, often in the middle of a plan year, when most plan enrollees are not permitted to change plans.  MA enrollees often get little advance warning, and some lose access to doctors they have seen for a long time, … Read more

On March 13, 2014, Center for Medicare Advocacy Executive Director and Founder Judith Stein testified before the House Energy & Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health, at a hearing entitled "Keeping the Promise: Allowing Seniors to Keep Their Medicare Advantage Plans If They Like Them."   That testimony is summarized below. The Center for Medicare Advocacy recognizes … Read more

Testimony of Judith A. Stein Executive Director, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Inc. United States House of Representatives Energy & Commerce, Subcommittee on Health "Keeping the Promise: Allowing Seniors to Keep Their Medicare Advantage Plans If They Like Them" March 13, 2014 I. Introduction Chairman Pitts, Ranking Member Pallone, and distinguished members of the Subcommittee on Health, thank you … Read more

On February 21, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its draft 2015 Call Letter to Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D plan sponsors, which includes a proposed rate for MA payment for 2015.[1]  Much anticipated, the draft Call Letter, which will be finalized in April, was preceded by an aggressive advertising … Read more

February 24, 2014 – The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is reining in overpayments to private Medicare Advantage (MA) plans by bringing MA payments closer to what traditional Medicare spends on a given beneficiary. The insurance industry and some legislators suggest that these overpayment reductions are harmful "cuts" to Medicare. This is not true. "Private Medicare … Read more

Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs) are a type of Medicare Advantage (MA) plan that enrolls only individuals dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid. Though results have been mixed, D-SNPs were created as a possible route to better integration between Medicare and Medicaid, in turn leading to better quality, higher value care. Authority for Special … Read more

During the Annual Coordinated Election Period, which runs from October 15th through December 7th, people with Medicare can change their choice of health coverage (whether they receive that coverage through a private Medicare Advantage plan or traditional Medicare), and add, drop or change Medicare Part D drug coverage. For more information and to get help … Read more

For 2014, United Healthcare (UHC) is cutting 2,250 doctors from its Connecticut Medicare Advantage (MA) network. UHC is also closing one of its MA plans in New Haven County that serves 2,900 people and taking similar actions in other states.  Medicare Advantage enrollees who visit a doctor, hospital, specialist, or health center outside of UHC’s … Read more

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is beginning to rein in Medicare Advantage (MA) overpayments by bringing MA payment more in line with what traditional Medicare spends on a given beneficiary.  The insurance industry is not only fighting this payment reform, but has launched a campaign against a 2.3% reduction in payment projected for 2014.[1]   This … Read more

The Medicare Advantage Disenrollment Period (MADP) lasts from January 1st through February 14th of each year.  During the MADP, a beneficiary can switch from an MA plan to traditional Medicare. The new MADP also provides an opportunity to enroll in a Part D drug plan for those who have not already done so. When disenrolling … Read more