Medicare Today Praises CMS for Responding to Patient Needs, Concerns on Part D Rule

CMS Decision to Not Move Forward with Key Provisions of Proposed Regulations Preserves Integrity, Efficacy of Medicare Prescription Drug Program

WASHINGTON – The Medicare Today coalition today commended the leadership of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for its decision to refrain from moving forward with certain provisions of its proposed regulatory changes to the Medicare Part D prescription drug program.  CMS, said Healthcare Leadership Council president and Medicare Today co-chair Mary R. Grealy, demonstrated its responsiveness to public concerns about the impact the proposed regulations would have on beneficiaries.

“We applaud CMS Administrator Tavenner for the agency’s sound judgment on this issue,” said Ms. Grealy.  “It became clear in recent weeks that there were deep concerns among seniors, patient organizations and healthcare providers about the effect these changes would have on one of the federal government’s most successful programs.  The health and lives of millions of Medicare beneficiaries have been strengthened by Part D’s accessible, affordable drug coverage, and the qualities that have made this program so effective need to be preserved.”

 “We agree with Administrator Tavenner that there needs to be a continuing dialogue among stakeholders to make certain we’re taking the right steps to protect the health of current and future Medicare beneficiaries.  We look forward to working with her and her leadership team at CMS to continue improving a program that is already fulfilling its public mission extraordinarily well,” Ms. Grealy said.

Proposed New Regulations Affecting Medicare Part D, Medicare Advantage Raise Concerns for Beneficiaries

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  These groups recommend strongly that the proposed regulations be rescinded and that they are prepared to work with CMS to develop more productive approaches that build on the strengths of Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D without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.
 
http://www.medicaretoday.org/MT2014/full%20ad.gifThe Healthcare Leadership Council developed a group sign-on letter 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.)

Concerned organizations are also communicating with Congress to make lawmakers aware of the ramifications of the proposed rule.  A Facebook page, called Seniors Speak Out, has been established that will enable Medicare beneficiaries to communicate with their Senators and Representatives on the issue.  The page 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

My mother has worked hard her entire life and it is good to see that she won’t have to worry about the high cost of medications as she gets older. -Kathy, Juneau, AK
I am very happy to have some medical coverage since I am on a fixed income. -Peggy, Blanchard, OK

View all stories »


Important Dates

  • 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

View all »

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News | Medicare Tomorrow

Downloads materials:
Medicare Part D Rebate toolkit here
Medicare Part D Fact Sheet here
Medicare Part D Non-Interference Toolkit here

  • August 6, 2014 - Organizations to Participate in Medicare Part D National Tele-Town Hall: Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Benefit Annual Satisfaction Survey Results | Details
  • June 5, 2014 - Organizations Participate in Medicare Part D National Tele-Town Hall: CMS Releases Final Part D Rule | Details
  • April 24, 2014 - Organizations Participate in Medicare Part D National Tele-Town Hall: CMS Efforts to Alter Part D | Audio
  • 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

Contact

Medicare
Call: 1-800 MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)
Visit: Medicare.gov

Medicare Today
Visit: MedicareToday@hlc.org

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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.

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