News

News

It’s Time to Enroll in MedicareOctober 14, 2019

If you’re an individual eligible for Medicare, this is a very important time of year. Open enrollment for Medicare starts on October 15 and continues through December 7. Open enrollment is the time when individuals turning 65 can enroll in Medicare coverage for the first time. It’s also the one time each year in which existing beneficiaries can shop for new coverage and change plans.

It’s important that you take advantage of this annual opportunity to look at your coverage and make sure it’s meeting your current needs. Your health, treatments and prescription medications can change a lot in a year, so reviewing your costs and coverage can help you determine if you want to stay with your current plan or choose a new plan from multiple available options.

This year, assessing your plan needs is more important than ever since the average basic premium for Part D prescription drug coverage is expected to decrease for 2019!

We’re committed to ensuring you have the resources you need to make the best choices for you or a family member. Basic information and videos on Medicare and Part D are available on our website. We also have a handy enrollment fact sheet in English and in Spanish. Additionally, you can find out if you are eligible for payment assistance through the Extra Help program and how to enroll (Spanish).

Our sister site, Seniors Speak Out, also has additional resources for seniors and will have new blog posts throughout open enrollment offering tips and information on signing up for coverage. Be sure to check back often to get the latest info on signing up during open enrollment.

Happy open enrollment!!

Nationwide Survey:  Nearly Nine of Ten Seniors are Satisfied with their Medicare Part D Prescription Drug CoverageAugust 7, 2019

Morning Consult Poll Shows 85 percent of Part D Enrollees Believe Their Drug Plan Offers Good Value

WASHINGTON – A nationwide survey of Americans 65 and older who are enrolled in Medicare Part D prescription drug plans shows that the program remains enormously popular.  Among poll respondents, 87 percent said they were satisfied with their Medicare prescription drug coverage and 85 percent said that their Part D plan provided good value.

The survey of 2,000 seniors was performed by Morning Consult and commissioned by the Medicare Today coalition.  Mary R. Grealy, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council and chair of Medicare Today, said the survey results underscore the importance of maintaining the fundamental structure of the Part D program.

Tell Congress to Reject Cuts to Medicare Part D!July 20, 2019

Attention Seniors!

There is a rumored proposal in the works that could harm Medicare Part D and the seniors that rely on this critical program. This proposal would harm Medicare by applying a government-imposed inflation rebate on Part D medications that could negatively affect the program’s successful market-based structure.

By unnecessarily inserting government-imposed inflation rebates, this policy would violate the spirit of the non-interference clause, which has allowed competition between Part D plans to hold down costs and has been key to Part D’s success since its inception. This penalty could also raise premiums for beneficiaries, as this type of change has the potential to eliminate the privately negotiated price protection rebates that are currently used to subsidize premiums.

Not only would this type of proposal undermine the success of the Part D program, but it could also reduce the incentive for future innovation in health care. Inflicting such a policy on Part D medications could have the harmful consequence of discouraging future investment in medical research, harming beneficiaries, especially those with chronic or complex conditions who rely on the program to access new break-through cures.

There are numerous proposals that, if enacted, would serve to meet the needs of seniors. This is not one of them. It is critical that you act NOW to tell your Member of Congress that these cuts to Medicare through government-imposed inflation rebates are the wrong way to lower Part D costs.

CLICK HERE to take action!

85 Percent of U.S. Seniors are Satisfied with Their Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Coverage, According to Nationwide SurveyAugust 15, 2018

Morning Consult Poll Shows More than Eight of Ten Part D Enrollees Consider It Important to Have System That Offers Choice of Private Plans 

WASHINGTON –  A nationwide survey of Americans age 65 and older has found that 85 percent are satisfied with their Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage with over eight out of 10 also saying that their Part D plans provide good value.

The survey was performed by Morning Consult this month and was commissioned by the Medicare Today coalition.  Mary R. Grealy, president of the Healthcare Leadership Council and chair of Medicare Today said lawmakers should pay close attention to these findings in determining the future of the Medicare Part D program.

“Ever since Part D was created over a decade ago, there are those who have wanted to change the program’s fundamental structure in which prices are negotiated between plans and manufacturers and consumers can choose from among multiple plan offerings,” Ms. Grealy said.  “This survey shows, as it has every year since the program began, that Part D is exceedingly popular among beneficiaries who value both choice and affordability.  We need to maintain a structure that works.”

MEDICARE TODAY URGING CONGRESS TO FIX PART D “OUT-OF-POCKET CLIFF”May 31, 2018

A significant number of Medicare Part D beneficiaries with high prescription drug needs are facing a substantial increase in their out-of-pocket costs.  In 2020, the threshold level of out-of-pocket payments for beneficiaries to quality for Catastrophic Coverage is scheduled to undergo a substantial increase.  If Congress doesn’t act, the amount beneficiaries will have to pay to quality for this coverage will jump by $1,500 between 2019 and 2020.  Medicare Today has produced an infographic  providing more details on this urgent matter.

Statement by Medicare Today Chair Mary R. Grealy on Proposed Legislation to Alter the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug ProgramOctober 25, 2017

Washington, DC (October 25, 2017) – Healthcare Leadership Council president Mary R. Grealy, speaking on behalf of the Medicare Today coalition, made the following statement regarding proposed congressional legislation that would significantly alter the Medicare Part D prescription drug program:

“Medicare Part D is working extremely well for beneficiaries precisely because of the lack of excessive federal interference in the way the program operates. Through price negotiations between manufacturers and payers, average Part D monthly premiums have remained affordable and will, in fact, be lower next year. It makes no sense to have the federal government intervene in this ongoing success and pursue a route that could lead to restrictive formularies and less access to essential treatments.

“The nationwide survey commissioned this summer by Medicare Today found that nearly nine of every 10 seniors are satisfied with their Part D coverage, and a sizeable majority value the ability to choose from among competing private plans. It would be difficult to find another federal program that has this level of popularity and effectiveness.

“Millions of seniors and beneficiaries with disabilities depend upon Medicare Part D for affordable access to needed medications. It would be wrong to make unnecessary changes in the name of political ideology to a program that is strengthening lives.”

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About Medicare Today
Medicare Today is a coalition of national and local organizations representing seniors, health care providers, employers, patients and consumer groups.

It’s Time to Enroll in MedicareOctober 12, 2017

If you’re an individual eligible for Medicare, this is a very important time of year. Open enrollment for Medicare starts on October 15 and continues through December 7. Open enrollment is the time when individuals turning 65 can enroll in Medicare coverage for the first time. It’s also the one time each year in which existing beneficiaries can shop for new coverage and change plans.

It’s important that you take advantage of this annual opportunity to look at your coverage and make sure it’s meeting your current needs. Your health, treatments and prescription medications can change a lot in a year, so reviewing your costs and coverage can help you determine if you want to stay with your current plan or choose a new plan from multiple available options.

This year, assessing your plan needs is more important than ever since the average basic premium for Part D prescription drug coverage is expected to decrease for 2018!

We’re committed to ensuring you have the resources you need to make the best choices for you or a family member. Basic information and videos on Medicare and Part D are available on our website. We also have a handy enrollment fact sheet in English and in Spanish. Additionally, you can find out if you are eligible for payment assistance through the Extra Help program and how to enroll (Spanish).

Our sister site, Seniors Speak Out, also has additional resources for seniors and will have new blog posts throughout open enrollment offering tips and information on signing up for coverage. Be sure to check back often to get the latest info on signing up during open enrollment.

Happy open enrollment!!

MedicareToday_placemat

Medicare offers more health coverage choices and decreased premiums in 2018October 2, 2017

Medicare Advantage premiums decrease, choices increase, while enrollment hits an at all-time high

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that people with Medicare will have more choices and options for their Medicare coverage in 2018.  As CMS releases the benefit and premium information for Medicare health and drug plans for the 2018 calendar year, the average monthly premium for a Medicare Advantage plan will decrease while enrollment in Medicare Advantage is projected to reach a new all-time high. Earlier this year, CMS announced new policies that support increased benefit flexibilities allowing Medicare Advantage plans the ability to offer innovative plans that fit the needs of people with Medicare.

“More affordable choices lead to greater health security for those who need it most,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D. “Both Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D are providing a higher level of health security for so many of America’s seniors precisely because they are built to be more responsive to their needs. Today’s news, alongside the long-term trend of more folks choosing Medicare Advantage, is a testament to the power of a more patient-centered approach to healthcare.”

“The success of Medicare Advantage and the prescription drug program demonstrates what a strong and transparent health market can do—increase quality while lowering costs,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “When Americans are empowered to choose the healthcare plans that fit their needs and the needs of their families, they demand more from their insurance plans and in turn healthcare plans, like any business, provide customers better service at a lower cost.

CMS estimates that the Medicare Advantage average monthly premium will decrease by $1.91 (about 6 percent) in 2018, from an average of $31.91 in 2017 to $30. More than three-fourths (77 percent) of Medicare Advantage enrollees remaining in their current plan will have the same or lower premium for 2018.

Medicare Advantage enrollment is projected to increase to 20.4 million in 2018, a nine percent increase compared to 2017. More than a one-third of all Medicare enrollees (34 percent) are projected to be in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2018.

Access to the Medicare Advantage program remains strong, with 99 percent of people with Medicare having access to a Medicare Advantage plan. The number of Medicare Advantage plans available to individuals to choose from across the country is increasing from about 2,700 to more than 3,100– and more than 85 percent of people with Medicare will have access to 10 or more Medicare Advantage plans. In addition, more Medicare Advantage enrollees are projected to have access to important supplemental benefits such as dental, vision, and hearing benefits.

Medicare Part D prescription drug program access will also remain strong in 2018 with 100 percent of people with Medicare having access to a stand-alone prescription drug plan. Earlier this year, CMS announced that the average basic premium for a Medicare prescription drug plan in 2018 is projected to decline to an estimated $33.50 per month. This represents a decrease of approximately $1.20 below the average basic premium of $34.70 in 2017. The Medicare prescription drug plan average basic premium is projected to decline for the first time since 2012.

This fall, CMS is undertaking several consumer-friendly improvements for Medicare Open Enrollment so that people with Medicare can make an informed choice between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage. Some of the improvements include:

  • Changes in the “Medicare & You” handbook to better explain coverage options;
  • Establishing a help wizard on Medicare.gov that will point to resources to help make informed healthcare decisions; and
  • Establishing a new email communication opportunity to improve the customer service experience through important messages and reminders.

Medicare Open Enrollment for 2018 Medicare health and drug plans begins on October 15, 2017, and ends December 7, 2017. Plan costs and covered benefits can change from year to year. People with Medicare should look at their coverage choices and decide the options that best fits their health needs. They can visit Medicare.gov (http://www.medicare.gov), call 1-800-MEDICARE, or contact their State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP). Those people with Medicare who do not wish to change their current coverage do not need to re-enroll in order to keep their current coverage.

For more information on the premiums and costs of 2018 Medicare health and drug plans, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Prescription-Drug-Coverage/PrescriptionDrugCovGenIn/index.html.

For a fact sheet on Medicare Advantage and Part D in 2018, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2017-Fact-Sheet-items/2017-09-29.html

For more information on Medicare Open Enrollment, including state-by-state fact sheets, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Reach-Out/Find-tools-to-help-you-help-others/Open-Enrollment-Outreach-and-Media-Materials.html.

New National Survey: Nearly 9 in 10 Seniors Satisfied with Medicare Part DJuly 24, 2017

Policymakers Weighing Changes to Prescription Drug Program Must Keep in Mind Seniors’ Approval of Part D’s Choices, Value & Convenience, Medicare Today Chair Said

WASHINGTON – More than a decade after its initial launch, the Medicare Part D prescription drug program remains overwhelmingly popular with American seniors, according to Medicare Today’s annual Senior Satisfaction Survey.  The nationwide survey of approximately 2,000 seniors conducted by Morning Consult found that 87 percent are satisfied with their Part D coverage and 90 percent believe their prescription drug costs would be much higher if they didn’t have prescription drug coverage through Part D.

“This survey shows the program continues to work extremely well,” said Mary R. Grealy, chair of Medicare Today and president of the Healthcare Leadership Council, a coalition of chief executives from all sectors of American health care. “Part D provides affordable access to prescription medications for seniors and individuals with disabilities, and beneficiaries are satisfied with the choices the program offers. They understand the great value it adds to their lives.”

Repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)October 31, 2016

Sign the letter to Congress

In 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA [P.L. 111-148]) created the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a board appointed by the President and empowered to make recommendations to cut spending in Medicare if its spending growth reaches certain arbitrary levels.

Over the last several years many of you have been supportive of efforts to repeal IPAB. To that end, there has been success in building support for repeal through co-sponsorship of IPAB repeal legislation, hearings, votes, teletownhalls, media, and our previous large group sign-on letter efforts.