Group pushes back on bill to rename Medicare Advantage plans

The Better Medicare Alliance, a national Medicare Advantage research and advocacy group, said the healthcare choices of the 29 million Medicare Advantage beneficiaries "deserve respect and support in Washington," in response to two U.S. representatives' proposal to rename the plans using that phrasing. 

Reps. Mark Pocan and Ro Khanna's legislation would also prohibit private insurers from using "Medicare" in plan titles or advertisements and impose "significant fines for any insurer that engages in this deceptive practice." The pair allege Medicare Advantage plans "often leave patients without the benefits they need while overcharging the federal government for corporate profit." 

Better Medicare Alliance President and CEO Mary Beth Donahue said in an Oct. 14 statement shared with Becker's that Medicare Advantage plan beneficiaries give the program a 94 percent satisfaction rate and save nearly $2,000 per year compared to traditional fee-for-service Medicare. She also said that in 2021, more than 80 percent of U.S. representatives signed a letter declaring support for seniors' Medicare Advantage coverage.       

"It's not hard to see why: Medicare Advantage delivers lower per-beneficiary costs to the government and has even been recognized by the Biden administration’s CMS for its success in reducing health disparities for beneficiaries of color," Ms. Donahue said. "We look forward to our continued work with all members of Congress and the Biden administration to protect seniors and strengthen Medicare by building on the innovations, affordability and value found in Medicare Advantage today."

The lawmakers' proposed legislation comes after The New York Times reported Oct. 8 that federal audits show that eight of the 10 biggest Medicare Advantage insurers have submitted inflated bills. Better Medicare Alliance said the report "cherry-picks" allegations and paints an inaccurate and incomplete picture of the program. 

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