Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker Testifies on the Future of Medicare Advantage
— Underscores Positive ACA Reforms and Recommendations to Improve the Program —
Washington, DC– Today, Joe Baker, President of the Medicare Rights Center, testified before the U.S. House Committee on Ways & Means, Subcommittee on Health about the future of the Medicare Advantage (MA) program, the positive impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on MA, and how to further improve MA plans for people with Medicare.
Recent changes to MA advanced by the ACA strengthened the program for current and future enrollees. In addition to improving Medicare’s overall financial outlook, the ACA enhanced MA through added benefits, fairer cost sharing, and improved plan quality.
“While many predicted that ACA changes to the Medicare Advantage payment system would lead to widespread disruption of the plan landscape, we have not seen that among the clients we serve or generally. Today, MA plan enrollment is at an all-time high, with nearly 16 million enrollees—and premium costs, benefit levels, and the availability of plans all remain relatively stable,” said Baker.
Baker also addressed certain recommendations to improve Medicare Advantage. To this, Baker said, “MA remains a good option for some, but not all. Congress must preserve and strengthen the Original Medicare program, while also ensuring the availability of MA options through a well-regulated marketplace. While many argued that ACA changes to MA reimbursement would unduly restrict beneficiary choice, this simply has not happened.”
To the contrary, research confirms what the Medicare Rights Center hears regularly from callers to its national helpline: beneficiaries are hampered by too many plan choices. According to Baker, Congress should address this problem by considering the following: