- Congress Continues to Negotiate Potential Historic Expansion of Medicare – The Time to Act Is Now
- CMS Releases Private Medicare Rates – Choose Your Coverage Wisely
- Free Webinar, October 20 (2-3 pm) | Medicare Enrollment Issues for 2022
- Free Webinar, October 28 (1-2:30 pm) | Spotlight on the Medicare Savings Programs
Negotiations in Congress about the size and scope of a transformative reconciliation package are at a critical stage. Policymakers are weighing what proposals are in, what is out, and the breadth of potential coverage expansions. We urge Congress to boldly strengthen our nation’s health care safety net across the board, including adding a comprehensive dental, hearing and vision benefit to the Medicare program and lowering the cost of prescription drugs. Rather than pitting different types of insurance or different groups against each other, or offering a limited or means-tested benefit in the Medicare program, Congress must make these benefits available to all by including them in Part B. If you have not done so already, Now is the time to make your voice heard.
According to a survey published today by West Health and NORC AmeriSpeak, more than 9 in 10 Americans believe dental coverage should be included in Medicare. Moreover, 73% of Americans believe that high prescription drug prices are impeding the Medicare program’s ability to provide dental coverage for seniors. These findings should help legislators understand the high value their constituents place on the ability to have dental coverage through Medicare, and the key role that broadly lowering drug costs could play in making access to dental care a reality for beneficiaries.
Advocates continue our push to achieve these goals. Last week, our partners at Families USA sent a letter joined by 180 organizations and advocates thanking House leadership and the Chairs of the House Ways & Means and Energy & Commerce Committees for advancing legislation that would add a dental benefit in Medicare Part B. We now await action by the Senate, and an agreement between the two chambers of Congress. The California Dental Association (CDA), which represents 1 out of 7 dentists in the nation, recently published an article on their website giving their members “background and context for the current congressional activity on Medicare and clarify some common misunderstandings”. This article provides a helpful overview of the debate over adding a dental benefit to Medicare, and the respective positions of different stakeholder groups, including the limitations of a proposal by the American Dental Association, and the lack of requirements on benefits provided by Medicare Advantage plans.
Add dental, vision and hearing benefits to Part B now. As we have outlined elsewhere, the need is great, and such coverage should be available to all Medicare beneficiaries. Remember that B ≠ A (or MA): adding these benefits to Part B of Medicare does not impact the Part A Trust Fund, and could even lead to Part A savings. Let’s not squander a rare opportunity to help millions of people on Medicare.
On September 29 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released 2022 Medicare Advantage and Part D cost sharing and premium numbers. CMS released the information ahead of the annual Medicare Open Enrollment Period to help beneficiaries with their Medicare coverage choices.
The average 2022 premium for Medicare Advantage plans will be $19 per month, about two dollars lower than in 2021. The average 2022 premium for Part D coverage will be $33 per month compared to $31.47 in 2021.
Medicare Open Enrollment begins on October 15, 2021, and ends on December 7, 2021. During this time, people eligible for Medicare can compare 2022 coverage options between Original Medicare, and Medicare Advantage and Part D prescription drug plans. Private Medicare health and drug plan costs and covered benefits can change from year to year, as can networks and provider access. People with Medicare should carefully examine their coverage choices each year to decide on the options that best meet their health needs.
For more information, see the full CMS announcement at: https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/press-releases/cms-releases-2022-premiums-and-cost-sharing-information-medicare-advantage-and-prescription-drug
This webinar will discuss the 2022 Annual Coordinated Election Period (ACEP), including outreach and education materials issued by the Medicare program, Medicare Plan Finder updates, common enrollment pitfalls, options when you miss your Initial Enrollment Period, and other considerations for Medicare beneficiaries and those who assist them. Policy changes, potential helpful legislation, and other updates for 2022 will also be discussed, including Medicare Advantage network adequacy and other changes made by final regulations.
- Register now at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/5896392103778054926
Sponsored by California Health Advocates
• Learn about the Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs)
• Learn how MSPs can help some Connecticut residents pay for Medicare costs
• Review a case study to learn how MSP assistance is calculated
Presented by Center for Medicare Advocacy Associate Director, Attorney Kathleen Holt, and Center Medicare Advocate Sue A. Greeno.
- Register now at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/301263303049183758.