February 19, 2015
- Council and Other Employer Groups Express Opposition to Proposed Cuts in Medicare Advantage Program
- A Bit About Your Benefits: Council Webinars
Council and Other Employer Groups Express Opposition to Proposed Cuts in Medicare Advantage Program
In February 18 written comments to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Council and nine other employer groups expressed concern with further cuts to the Medicare Advantage (MA) program. Proposed 2016 rates for the MA program are expected to be announced soon, with final rates to be set later in the year.
The letter states that more than 2.7 million retirees receive health insurance coverage through an employer in the form of [MA Employer Group Waiver Plans (MA-EGWP plans)], comprising approximately 18 percent of total MA enrollment and notes that these plans, which allow employers to contract with Medicare Part D and provide flexible MA coverage, are increasingly popular because they feature the optimal mix of affordability and quality plan design.
President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2016 federal budget proposal included $43.4 billion in MA-related cuts over the next decade, with nearly $7.2 billion in cuts affecting MA-EGWPs, in addition to the provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that are expected to reduce MA funding by $200 billion by 2019. The group letter says that these cuts will cause employers to face “significant challenges in building long-term strategies for effective retiree coverage .... Not only do MA cuts hurt millions of seniors through reduced benefits, narrower networks, and higher out-of-pocket costs, but employers who want to sustain group-sponsored Medicare retiree coverage are simultaneously pressured by rising health costs.”
The Council joined a similar group letter urging against further MA cuts in March 2014 and also filed its own letter expressing similar concerns in February 2014 (see the March 10, 2014, Benefits Byte for more information). For more information, contact Kathryn Wilber, senior counsel, health policy at (202) 289-6700.
A Bit About Your Benefits: Council Webinars
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