January 26, 2017

Crapo Leads Bipartisan Call to Support Medicare Advantage

In Letter, Crapo and Others Urge Administration to Strengthen Successful Program

WASHINGTON – Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee, today led a letter signed by Idaho Senator Jim Risch and 63 of their colleagues to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Dr. Patrick Conway encouraging the Trump Administration to enact policies to protect and strengthen the Medicare Advantage program.

“In Idaho, one in three Medicare beneficiaries have chosen a private health plan through Medicare Advantage, which allows beneficiaries to select a health plan that best suits their individual budget and health needs,” said Crapo.  “Given the successes of Medicare Advantage for many in Idaho and across the nation, maintaining and strengthening it will ensure its long-term stability.”

Millions of our constituents depend on Medicare Advantage for affordable, quality, patient-centered health care,” reads the letter in part.  “Enrollment has increased by about 60 percent since 2010, as plans have demonstrated their ability to deliver value to their members.  Nearly one of every three Medicare beneficiaries has selected a Medicare Advantage plan, with 90 percent of members reporting satisfaction with their selection.”

A copy of the letter is attached, and the text of the letter is below.

Dear Acting Administrator Conway,

We write to express our strong support for the Medicare Advantage program and the high-quality, innovative, and affordable health care it provides to over 18 million seniors and individuals with disabilities.  As Congress and the Administration consider policies affecting Medicare, we ask you to strengthen this vital and proven part of the program that has led the way on value-based care.

Millions of our constituents depend on Medicare Advantage for affordable, quality, patient-centered health care.  Enrollment has increased by about 60 percent since 2010, as plans have demonstrated their ability to deliver value to their members.  Nearly one of every three Medicare beneficiaries has selected a Medicare Advantage plan, with 90 percent of members reporting satisfaction with their selection.

Medicare Advantage continues to be an affordable option offering out of pocket spending caps, supplemental benefits including vision and dental, and often prescription drug coverage for no additional premiums for those who wish to enroll.  For example, in 2017, roughly 80 percent of Medicare beneficiaries will have access to a Medicare Advantage plan with drug benefits for no additional premium.  Medicare Advantage is of particular importance to beneficiaries with chronic conditions, as plans have the flexibility to offer in-home health clinical visits and disease management programs not always available in traditional Medicare. 

We believe Medicare Advantage is an important part of the health care system that is working for America’s seniors. We encourage the Administration to strongly support and build on Medicare Advantage for today’s Medicare beneficiaries and those who will be entering the program in the future.

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