BMA Educates Hill Staff on Demographic Trends in Medicare Advantage

Posted by: Daniella Chambers

Better Medicare Alliance (BMA) hosted a briefing for Congressional staff on Thursday, July 11, 2019. The event, titled Medicare Advantage: Enrollment & Demographic Trends, unveiled new data showing the critical role Medicare Advantage plays in shielding beneficiaries from high out-of-pocket costs. Findings also showed that Medicare Advantage serves an increasingly diverse population with complex care needs.

Anne Tumlinson, CEO at Anne Tumlinson Innovations, presented key findings from her new report sponsored by BMA, entitled Medicare Advantage Provides Key Financial Protections to Low and Modest Income Populations. The analysis found while there are many similarities between the populations enrolled in Medicare Advantage and Traditional Medicare in terms of age, gender, and prevalence of chronic conditions, Medicare Advantage plans enroll a higher number of beneficiaries with incomes below $24,000 (or 200% of the federal poverty level). In addition, the analysis showed that Medicare Advantage beneficiaries have significantly lower premium and out-of-pocket costs and are less likely to be cost-burdened than their peers in Traditional Medicare.

“There are a growing number of families in this country that are suffering from problems with the health care delivery system. It’s not meeting their needs. Medicare Advantage is an exciting part of the toolkit to solve those delivery system problems,” noted Tumlinson.

Two of BMA’s Medicare Advantage Champions in Congress addressed the attendees, highlighted the value of Medicare Advantage to their constituents, and emphasized the importance of continued bipartisan support for Medicare Advantage. Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) stressed the importance of improving understanding of Medicare choices and increasing access to high-quality care offered by Medicare Advantage.

“Seniors deserve the dignity of knowing they can see the doctor when they need to. That’s the dignity of Medicare Advantage. This is an example of what Medicare should be about,” noted Representative Cárdenas as he urged Congressional staff to learn more about Medicare Advantage.

The briefing included a panel discussion moderated by Allyson Y. Schwartz, BMA President & CEO. The panelists were Autumn Campbell, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, Gary Puckrein, Ph.D., President & CEO of the National Minority Quality Forum, and Lucy Theilheimer, Chief Strategy and Impact Officer at Meals on Wheels. They discussed the role of strategic partnerships between Medicare Advantage and community partners to address social risk factors and address disparities based on race, ethnicity and gender. All three organizations are part of BMA’s coalition of Allies.

The event was widely attended, with almost 100 Congressional staffers and other interested parties joining to learn more about consumer cost protections and the diverse population of in Medicare Advantage. Participants represented 46 House and Senate offices, a testament to widespread Congressional support for Medicare Advantage.

To view the briefing please click here.