Press Releases
September 2, 2021

BMA Calls on Congress to Protect Medicare Advantage Beneficiaries When Adding New Benefits in Medicare

Coalition of 160 stakeholder organizations and over 600,000 grassroots advocates supports efforts to enhance Medicare benefits; calls for proper funding to ensure nearly 27 million Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are not harmed

Washington, D.C. (September 2, 2021) – Better Medicare Alliance, the nation’s leading research and advocacy organization supporting Medicare Advantage, responded today to Congressional efforts to add dental, vision, and hearing benefits to Fee-for-Service (FFS) Medicare as part of an emerging reconciliation measure.

“All of us want to see Medicare be fully equipped to meet the needs of today’s seniors. While Medicare beneficiaries today enjoy nearly universal access to at least one Medicare Advantage plan with vision, hearing, and dental benefits, those who choose original FFS Medicare do not receive these benefits. We believe the addition of dental, vision, and hearing benefits as part of the medical benefit is an important policy change that will benefit millions of seniors and individuals living with disabilities,” said Mary Beth Donahue, President and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance. “At the same time, the addition of these benefits must be structured to ensure Medicare is strengthened for all enrollees – including the nearly 27 million who choose Medicare Advantage – and that no beneficiary sees premium increases or benefit cuts.”  

Donahue continued, “Congress and the administration have a critical opportunity to move Medicare forward together; seeking solutions that lift up all beneficiaries, including the proportionally more diverse, lower income, and more socially at-risk population in Medicare Advantage. We owe it to our nation’s seniors to fully fund any improvements to Medicare so that vulnerable Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are not used as a bargaining chip. Better Medicare Alliance looks forward to our continued work with Congress to that end.” 

See a full list of BMA Ally organizations HERE.


The Medicare Advantage difference for seniors:

  • Medicare Advantage receives a 98% beneficiary satisfaction rate, with satisfaction rising to 99% among minority beneficiaries.
  • Medicare Advantage beneficiaries save an average of $1,640 a year on total health care costs, as compared to original FFS Medicare.
  • 98% of Medicare beneficiaries today have access to at least one Medicare Advantage plan with vision, hearing, and dental benefits.
  • 47% of Latinx Medicare beneficiaries and 42% of African American Medicare beneficiaries choose to enroll in Medicare Advantage.
  • Medicare Advantage beneficiaries see a 43% lower rate of avoidable hospitalizations for any condition than original FFS Medicare, and a 5% lower rate of all-cause readmissions.
  • 60% of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are enrolled in a $0 premium plan.
  • A leader in the drive to health equity, Medicare Advantage has seen a greater than three-fold increase in the availability of supplemental benefits to address social determinants of health from 2020 to 2021. Today, 57% of Medicare Advantage plans provide some form of meal benefit, while 46% of plans provide transportation between physician appointments.


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