Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Rob Portman (R-OH) introduced the Protecting Medicare Advantage for all Medicare Beneficiaries Act, legislation to preserve and protect Medicare Advantage plans serving a high percentage of low-income and seniors with disabilities. Current Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) guidance would force certain Medicare Advantage plans, many of which serve the most vulnerable beneficiaries, to terminate. Portman and Casey’s bill would prevent the termination of these plans and provide funds for plans with a high percentage of dually-eligible and low-income beneficiaries to develop targeted interventions to help those beneficiaries. This is a step towards addressing income based disparities in health care which exist across the health care continuum.
“This legislation will help low-income seniors maintain their Medicare Advantage benefits and receive targeted assistance to improve quality,” Casey said. “The 925,000 Medicare beneficiaries participating in Medicare Advantage in Pennsylvania should be able to continue choosing benefit packages that are tailored to their needs. The ability of seniors and people with disabilities to access this vital program shouldn’t depend on their income- it’s too important.”
“As we mark the 50th anniversary of Medicare this year, it’s important to ensure that this critically important program is working for those who need it the most,” Portman stated. “Over 800,000 Ohio seniors rely on Medicare Advantage and this legislation will allow low-income Ohio seniors to keep their plans and also improve Medicare services.”
The Protecting Medicare Advantage for all Medicare Beneficiaries would:
- Delay the authority to terminate MA contracts for plans failing to achieve minimum quality ratings under the Medicare Advantage STARS rating system.
- Ensure that seniors across the country are able to keep the care and benefits they choose because the plans fit their needs.
- Prevent these plans from terminating, and also provide additional resources to those plans that serve the highest number of low-income and dual-eligible beneficiaries to help them set goals to improve quality and attain better outcomes for seniors.