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On October 22, the Center for Medicare Advocacy and the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare launched the second annual Medicare Fully Informed Project, with a variety of unbiased, accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive information about the full range of Medicare coverage options. The Medicare Fully Informed Project includes an array of tools to guide Medicare beneficiaries, and those who assist them enroll and re-enroll in Medicare, in making the best individual enrollment choices.

Among these materials are a new Advocates’ Guide to MA Supplemental Benefits, focusing on Special Supplemental Benefits for the Chronically Ill (SSBCI), available for the first time in 2020. The Guide discusses eligibility, marketing and appeals relating to SSBCI, and highlights opportunities to change plans outside of the current enrollment period. The materials also include a one-page Consumer Guide that provides advice concerning how to assess SSBCI, including highlighting that such benefits will not be available to all plan enrollees.

Other Medicare Advantage Updates

  • Center Executive Director Judy Stein co-authored an op-ed with Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, published in the New Haven Register and the Connecticut Post entitled “Medicare Advantage May Not Cover Your Doctor” which highlights Anthem’s recent termination of many doctors from one of its Connecticut plans.
  • CMS Mailing to Enrollees in Consistently Low Performing Plans – In a memo dated October 22, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that in late October it “will again be issuing notices to individuals enrolled in plans with less than three stars for three consecutive years. The notice will alert beneficiaries to the sponsor or organization’s low rating and encourage them to review higher rated plan options during this annual election period (AEP). The notice also informs enrollees of an opportunity to contact CMS to request a special enrollment period (SEP) to move into a higher quality plan in 2020.”
  • The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) expresses concerns about the Medicare Plan Finder – In a letter dated October 16, 2019, NAIC wrote to CMS Administrator Seema Verma to “support the concerns expressed by state regulators, consumer advocacy groups and industry representatives regarding the new Medicare Plan Finder.” NAIC noted that “examples of concerns, errors and omissions” include: “The cost comparison between Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare with a Medigap plan does not capture out of pocket costs – only premiums. This gives the false sense that Medigap is much more expensive overall than an MA plan.” and “The total yearly estimated cost for Original Medicare and a Medigap Plan (particularly Plan F) is unreasonably high.”
  • Kaiser Family Foundation releases report on Medicare Advantage in 2020 –

October 24, 2019 – D. Lipschutz

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