April 27, 2020

Letter: Better Medicare Alliance Writes to HHS and CMS on Policies to Ensure Stability for Medicare Advantage Amid COVID-19

Better Medicare Alliance wrote to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) outlining requests to ensure stability for Medicare Advantage ahead of the June 1st deadline for Medicare Advantage plan sponsors to submit their bids for the 2021 coverage year.
“The Medicare Advantage community is taking unprecedented steps to reach beneficiaries with the care they need during the COVID-19 pandemic – from $0 telemedicine visits to waiving cost-sharing for coronavirus treatment and testing, to speeding prescription refills and leveraging home delivery to help keep seniors safe,” said Allyson Y. Schwartz, President and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance.  “CMS has made helpful changes to enable Medicare Advantage to address the needs of beneficiaries during this crisis, and we applaud that. Still, further guidance is needed as Medicare Advantage plans develop their bids for the 2021 coverage year in the midst of significant uncertainty created by this emergency. To protect beneficiaries from higher premiums or higher out-of-pocket costs in 2021, actions CMS could take include flexibility to account for uncertainties around the cost of a future coronavirus vaccine or treatment, modifying risk adjustment to allow supplemental use of 2019 data, and updating the 2021 normalization factor to ensure payment accuracy. Reforms such as these can go a long way toward protecting the coverage that 24.4 million Americans rely on today.” 

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