Better Medicare Alliance Advocacy Update – April 2019

Posted by: Daniella Chambers

Note from Congresswoman Schwartz
Hello BMA Advocates!

With over 100 new members now serving as part of the 116th Congress and the issue of health care reform taking high priority, Members and their staff are looking for information and resources to inform their policy decisions. As experts on Medicare Advantage, BMA welcomes this opportunity to inform and galvanize support for the care seniors choose.

In April, we hosted a Hill briefing for Congressional Staff titled Medicare Advantage 101: A Primer. The event introduced fundamental concepts in Medicare Advantage, highlighted the differences between Medicare Advantage and Traditional Medicare, and explained the Medicare Advantage payment model. A panel of BMA Allies representing the American Medical Group Association (AMGA), Oak Street Health, and the Teacher’s Retirement System of Kentucky followed and shared insights on care provided under Medicare Advantage, improved health outcomes, and information on how Medicare Advantage is working to address health disparities and address the full health needs of patients.

We are happy to note that this event was widely attended! Over 80 participants joined us to learn more about the high-quality, affordable care available with Medicare Advantage plans. These participants represented more than 45 House and Senate offices. These are offices BMA will look to as we build support for Medicare Advantage. The briefing was a great first step toward increasing understanding and bi-partisan support for Medicare Advantage.

This month, we also took to the road to share information on Medicare Advantage! BMA was a proud sponsor of Aging in America 2019, hosted by the American Society on Aging. The conference, which took place in New Orleans, Louisiana, featured a diverse line-up of speakers and exhibitors dedicated to addressing the needs of seniors nationwide.

BMA was happy to participate in the session called “Panel of Pundits” and as an exhibitor, sharing your stories and information on Medicare Advantage with a variety of providers, community-based organizations and researchers.

We look forward to additional opportunities to share information on Medicare Advantage here in Washington and across the country. Thank you for informing our efforts and for your commitment to high-quality, affordable care with Medicare Advantage.


Allyson Y. Schwartz
President & CEO
Better Medicare Alliance

Congressional Action Still Needed to Protect Seniors from HIT

By Daniella Chambers, BMA Advocacy Manager

With the introduction of new legislation at the end of February, BMA advocates were busy in March urging members of Congress to support efforts to delay the Health Insurance Tax (HIT) by co-sponsoring Senate Bill 172 and House Bill 1398. To date, our community has sent 21,839 letters to Congress and written 119 letters to the editor as part of our #StopTheHITOnSeniors campaign!

We know that if the HIT goes into effect in 2020, it would result in increases to plan premiums, fewer cost sharing reductions that help beneficiaries, and reductions in supplemental benefits provided under plans. Research suggests that the average couple on Medicare Advantage can expect plan premiums to increase by approximately $500 annually.

More than half of all Medicare Advantage beneficiaries live on less than $30,000 a year and most live on fixed incomes. This is why it is so critical that we continue to pressure Congress to act on Senate Bill 172 and House Bill 1398. Suspending the HIT for 2020 is one of the most direct ways Congress can provide financial relief for seniors and disabled individuals who rely on Medicare Advantage plans. But they need to act quickly to prevent premiums from rising.

Make sure you’ve signed our #StopTheHITOnSeniors petition to urge members of Congress to co-sponsor S. 172 and H.R. 1398. Then, share the petition with your friends and family! The more support for these bills Congress hears from beneficiaries like you, the more likely they are to take action and delay the HIT!

Join Our Task Forces

* Join our Medicare My Way Task Force

* Join our Medicare Advantage Retiree Plans Task Force

* Join the Keep Our Prescription Drugs Affordable Task Force

* Join the Protect Our Care Task Force

* Join our Chronic Disease Task Force

Featured Action of the Month: Story Bank

BMA is proud to be a leading source for information on beneficiary experience in Medicare Advantage plans. Through your stories, comments, and letters, you help us understand what works well across plans and where we as a community can advocate for improvements. This information is critical as we work to shape the future of Medicare today and in the days to come.

Share your Medicare Advantage story today to help us inform decisions that impact Medicare Advantage coverage for over 22 million beneficiaries nationwide!

Our Top Advocates

  • Carol F. (Herndon, VA.)
  • Donald J. (Marietta, GA.)
  • Ed M. (Alexandria, KY.)

BMA Ambassadors work directly with BMA to further engage in advocacy activities, like hosting events, recruiting new members, and contacting Congress.

The Better Medicare Alliance Ambassador Facebook Group is a self-selected committee of the Better Medicare Alliance’s most engaged senior advocates dedicated to strengthening health care for seniors and people with disabilities who are enrolled in Medicare Advantage. Join us on Facebook and become part of BMA’s inner circle of advocates.

Better Medicare Alliance is a Twitter leader in discussions about Medicare Advantage and health care for our nation’s seniors. Follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date on Medicare Advantage news.