Better Medicare Alliance Advocacy Update – May 2019

Posted by: Daniella Chambers

Note from Congresswoman Schwartz

Hello BMA Advocates!

The health care needs of older adults continue to change, as more than half of the Medicare-eligible population experiences multiple chronic conditions. In May, a new report from Avalere Health found that Medicare Advantage outperforms traditional Medicare in caring for dual eligible beneficiaries with chronic conditions. These beneficiaries had 41.1% fewer emergency room visits, 32.9% lower rates of hospitalization, and 11.7% more office visits than their peers enrolled in traditional Medicare. Additionally, they experienced significantly fewer complications, while costing the system 16.7% less.

These findings are consistent with previous reports and they are good news for beneficiaries. BMA uses such findings to advocate for the care and services available in Medicare Advantage that benefit 22 million beneficiaries in MA, including those with multiple chronic conditions. We also use such findings to inform policymakers about the benefits of Medicare Advantage. Together, with your stories, they show that Medicare Advantage is important to those covered by Medicare Advantage today and is a model for providing high-quality care at an affordable cost.

Recently, thanks to your letters, comments, and stories, BMA was able to provide the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) feedback on the “Medicare & You 2020 Handbook.” As Medicare-eligible beneficiaries rely on the Handbook to make a choice of how to receive their Medicare benefits, this was an important opportunity to comment on this resource that seniors and individuals with disabilities rely to get complete and accurate information about their Medicare coverage options. We look forward to assessing the handbook revisions as they are available to identify changes and note areas for improvement to ensure the right information is available to all eligible enrollees.

Toward that purpose, BMA was also pleased by efforts in the House of Representatives to improve Medicare’s educational and enrollment materials. Led by Congressman Jimmy Gomez (CA-34), 62 members of the House signed a letter to CMS urging the agency to begin translating key documents into additional languages beyond English and Spanish. BMA was actively involved in this effort and we applaud Congressman Gomez for his leadership in calling for increasing language access in Medicare education and outreach materials. This action encourages CMS to enable millions of beneficiaries to better understand and act on the choices they have in Medicare coverage and benefits. To receive updates on these efforts, become a member of the Medicare My Way Task Force today!

Thank you for standing up for the care seniors choose with Medicare Advantage. You continue to make a difference in Washington and across the country as committed BMA advocates.


Allyson Y. Schwartz
President & CEO
Better Medicare Alliance

Celebrating Our Senior Community: Older Americans Month 2019

By Daniella Chambers, BMA Advocacy Manager

Established in 1963, Older Americans Month is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions of older persons to our country. It is also a time to consider the challenges facing aging Americans and focus on improving services to meet their needs.

Every May, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads the national observance of Older Americans Month/strong>. Organizations across the country celebrate and pay tribute to older adults in their communities with special ceremonies and activities. This year, the theme of Older Americans Month was Connect, Create, Contribute. Communities were encouraged to engage and support older adults and recognize the many ways in which they shape our lives.

Throughout the month of May, Better Medicare Alliance (BMA) celebrated our senior community of over 400,000 advocates nationwide. In keeping with the 2019 theme of Older Americans Month, we shared resources focused on healthy aging, senior connection, and service. We also sought to learn more about members of our community through a variety of polls, surveys, and discussions across our social media channels.

BMA thanks all members of our beneficiary community for their contribution to our efforts to protect and improve Medicare Advantage during Older Americans Month and throughout the year. We value your insight and feedback as we work to shape the future of Medicare.

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

Update on HIT

In May, Better Medicare Alliance led a Senior Week of Action to stop the Health Insurance Tax (HIT). Thousands of BMA advocates wrote to Congress about the importance of suspending the HIT, and fourteen advocates published letters to the editor in their local newspaper. Click here to read their letters and learn more about the HIT Week of Action.

Looking Ahead

Join BMA throughout the month of July to learn and test your knowledge of Medicare Advantage! During Medicare Academy Month, BMA will host a series of digital activities to help you learn more and stay up to date on your understanding of Medicare Advantage and improve your ability to advocate for this high-quality, affordable care seniors choose. Follow us on Facebook for more information and to participate in weekly challenges with other advocates in our community!

Our Top Advocates

  • Miriam T. (Hershey, PA.)
  • Karen K. (Pittsburgh, PA.)
  • Diana C. (Palm Beach Gardens, FL.)

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.