Congress Close to Finalizing Important Medicaid Extensions

Lindsey CopelandMedicare Watch0 Comments

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On Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the IMPROVE Act (H.R. 7217), which extends two critical Medicaid programs for older adults and people with disabilities. The U.S. Senate is expected to approve the bill before adjourning for the year. First authorized in the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005, the Medicaid Money Follows the Person Demonstration Program (MFP) officially launched in 2007. Since then, it has helped over 88,000 older adults and people with disabilities transition from nursing and other facilities back to the community, and it has consistently been a cost-effective, successful program. According to independent, national evaluations MFP participants who have transitioned to community-based settings experience lasting improvements in quality of life, and they also decrease their overall Medicare and Medicaid expenditures by roughly 23%, generating considerable cost savings for the programs. Read More...

Leveling the Medigap Playing Field

Julie CarterMedicare Watch0 Comments

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At the Medicare Rights Center, we encourage states to provide equal protections for people with Medicare, regardless of age. Last week, we joined the American Kidney Fund to explain the importance of Medigap access for people under 65 to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Most people with Medicare have two major options when choosing how to receive their Medicare coverage: Original Medicare or Medicare Advantage. While this decision is complicated, those who choose Original Medicare may have another decision to make as well—whether to add Medigap coverage. Read More...

Medicare Advantage Directories Remain Full of Errors Due to CMS Inaction

Julie CarterMedicare Watch0 Comments

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It is important that Medicare Advantage organizations (MAOs) supply complete, accurate, and easily accessed provider directories to ensure those who enroll in Medicare Advantage (MA) plans know which providers are in a given plan’s network. Unfortunately, as we have highlighted before, MAO provider directories are not complete and accurate. Instead, for the third year running, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the agency that runs the Medicare program, has revealed directory audit results showing widespread errors and inaccuracies. Read More...

CMS Proposes Changes to Protected-Class Drugs

Casey SchwarzMedicare Watch0 Comments

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Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule that would allow Part D and Medicare Advantage plans to use additional tools to reduce prescription drug prices. Some of these tools rely on weakening the protections for consumers who take certain medications in what are known as the “protected classes.” Read More...

Advocates Push for Changes to CMS Fall Open Enrollment Materials That Currently Favor Medicare Advantage over Original Medicare

Lindsey CopelandMedicare Watch0 Comments

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Earlier this month, the Medicare Rights Center and the Center for Medicare Advocacy sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) expressing concerns with some of the agency’s Fall Open Enrollment education and outreach materials. These materials seem to promote Medicare Advantage (MA) over Original Medicare. Read More...