We work closely with over 400,000 senior advocates to provide information about what Better Medicare Alliance is up to and how you can get involved. Make sure to check back here for regular updates on all things Medicare Advantage!

Have questions? Email us at community@bettermedicarealliance.org. We look forward to hearing from you!

Want Better Retirement? Better Health Care? Learn How to Become a Senior Advocate

Are you concerned about prescription drug prices in Medicare? Perhaps you have a chronic condition and you are worried about how Medicare will cover your bills?

We are less than two months away from a midterm election and a new Congress. It is now more important than ever to make sure your voice is heard in Washington. Last year, Better Medicare Alliance (BMA) senior advocates sent 10,000 letters, made phone calls and signed petitions to successfully advocate Congress to ensure chronically ill Medicare beneficiaries have access to the high-quality care through passage of the CHRONIC Care Act.
Let’s build on that success! Better Medicare Alliance has created four voluntary senior advocate task forces. Our task forces are smaller groups of senior advocates that are passionate about certain issues that impact people enrolled in Medicare Advantage. When you sign up to join one of our tasks forces you will gain access to special resources on the part of Medicare Advantage you’re most passionate about.

Join one (or more) of the following task force:

Chronic Disease Task Force
Join our chronic disease task force to protect critical Medicare Advantage chronic disease care and work directly with Better Medicare Alliance to ensure seniors with chronic disease continue to receive high-quality, affordable health care through Medicare Advantage. Medicare Advantage has been at the forefront of developing and incentivizing ground-breaking ways to prevent, diagnose and treat chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.

Keep Our Prescription Drugs Affordable (KOPDA) Task Force
Prescription drug prices are on the rise affecting millions of seniors on Medicare Advantage, many of whom struggle to pay the out-of-pocket costs for their life-saving medications. Better Medicare Alliance understands the negative impact high drug prices have on beneficiaries and supports developing policies that make prescription drugs more affordable for everyone. Join our Keep Our Prescription Drugs Affordable Task Force to ensure seniors on Medicare Advantage have access to affordable and effective prescription medicines.

Medicare Advantage Retiree Plans Task Force
Join our Medicare Advantage Retiree Plans Task Force to protect Medicare Advantage plans provided to retirees by their former employers. Over four million retirees across the country are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage health plan sponsored by a former employer. These seniors depend on high-quality, affordable care, and continued funding for these plans.

Medicare My Way Task Force
Join our Medicare My Way Task Force to work directly with Better Medicare Alliance to advise the government on how to improve Medicare and advocate for what services you think your Medicare Advantage plans should cover, including supplemental benefits.

What happens next?

If you join our task forces, participation is free and completely volunteer-based – we just ask for 1-2 hours of your time each month. As an organization with over 115+ Allies we want to represent the voice of Medicare Advantage seniors around the nation.

The most important goal of our task force is education. Education is key for advocating for Medicare Advantage. We will provide you with legislative updates and talking points, so you can better advocate for each issue.

Some of the activities you will be asked to participate in when you join a task force include surveys, petitions, calls to other seniors, calls to offices of members of congress, and drafting letters and op-eds about positive experiences.

What about Drug Prices in Medicare?

Prescription drug prices are a concern to almost everyone and that concern has captured the attention of policymakers. This is certainly true, many Medicare enrollees who have seen high out-of-pocket costs, particularly for specialty drugs.

The first step in tackling the question of how to keep drug costs down is to know how drug pricing works. Here’s a start:

Drug prices start with pharmaceutical companies. Pharmaceutical companies set prices for their products independently and can increase them at will. This often results in high out-of-pocket costs for consumers, as well as increased costs throughout the entire system.

Medicare Advantage-Part D (MAPD) plans and standalone Part D Prescription Drug Plans (PDPs)work to deliver value for seniors and for taxpayers by negotiating lower prices directly with pharmaceutical companies. They are able to do this by working with Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs), such as CVS Caremark or Express Scripts, who are able to negotiate lower drug prices with pharmaceutical companies through the use of rebates.

Rebates are a vital tool used by health plans to lower drug premiums for their beneficiariess. Without the use of rebates, health plans would have no leverage to negotiate lower drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, resulting in increased premiums for health plan enrollees.Consumers are also able to change plans each year to better meet specific financial and health needs to help manage the prescription drug costs, should their medical or financial needs change over time.

The prescription drug supply chain needs comprehensive reform to protect seniors and those with disabilities on Medicare from high prices, abrupt increases, as well as rising drug costs in both routine medications and specialty prescription drugs. As beneficiaries, you can contact your representatives to motivate legislative change and you can share your stories to better build a case when we advocate for the stability of drug prices for our 400,000 advocates.

A Guide to Understanding Employer Group Waiver Plans (EGWPs)

Created in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003, Employer Group Waiver Plans (EGWPs) are a type of health plan offered to you by a public or private employer. Also known as, employer retiree Medicare Advantage plans or “egg whip”, represents a successful public-private partnership that addresses the health care needs of 4.1 million retirees out of nearly 22 million Medicare Advantage beneficiaries.

EGWPs coverage delivers high-quality, value-based care. Employers have turned to EGWPs to provide more affordable options than Medicare Supplement Insurance policies for beneficiaries. These types of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are profitable for larger populations such as local and state governments, industries and unions.

Egg Whip plans like other MA plans cover all Medicare Part A and Part B benefits in addition to supplemental benefits, vision, dental, out-of-pocket cost protections, and innovations to enhance beneficiaries care. Employers provide uniform plan designs to administer coverage to their retirees.

MA plans share many similarities with EGWPs however some differences do apply. The two main differences include: retirees are enrolled as groups rather than individuals so employers have to be compliance with a bigger population. Secondly, Egg Whip plans must include a larger geographic area than MA individual plans. Therefore, EWGP requires providers nationwide and most plans are PPO (Provider Organizations) rather than HMO (Health Maintenance Organizations). Retiree coverage those include a range of benefits for beneficiaries such as risk adjustment, cost protection, benefit design, quality and value and beneficiaries right.

The biggest benefit of Employer retiree plans is that it’s a seamless coverage between what you had before and worked for you. Rather than enrolling into Medicare and the process of understanding the new options you get the same plan from when you were an employee and get Medicare supplements added on. As beneficiaries, we need your support. Medicare Advantage retiree plans are at risk and we want the administration to know the importance they have to employers and retirees. Moving forward, we encourage you to learn more about EGWPs and help us advocate for these types of plans.

Better Medicare Alliance wants employer plans to have greater access in rural areas, simpler enrollment process, more use for professional or group associations, and education on the benefit. Our goal is to maintain the stability of a public-private venture that has proven to be successful.