Senators Burr and Tillis Urge CMS to Halt Medicare Advantage Cuts to Seniors in NC and Nationally

WASHINGTON – Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) pressed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to reconsider cuts to the Medicare Advantage plans, which will drastically reduce access to Medicare Advantage for 135,000 seniors in North Carolina. The Medicare Advantage program is popular nationwide because of the quality care and choices it offers seniors.

The Senators note that they share concern about the proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage (MA) Retiree Coverage included in the February 19th Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) 2017 Advance Rate Notice. Medicare Advantage plans have been very popular with seniors.  Unfortunately, the proposed cut for MA Employer Group Waiver Plans threatens the choice and access to these MA plans for 3.3 million retirees, 135,000 of whom reside in North Carolina.  

The senators wrote: “Employers look to MA Retiree Coverage as a critical form of health care coverage for their retirees because it offers more coordinated care, and a greater choice of benefits than Fee-For-Service Medicare.  This proposed cut to MA Retiree Coverage could negatively affect employers offering MA Retiree Coverage to their workforce and the seniors who have chosen these MA plans.  Furthermore, this 2.5 percent cut could harm one in four Medicare Advantage beneficiaries in North Carolina, and one outside estimate suggests that the impact of this cut to MA Retiree Coverage could reduce the value of this benefit by up to $22 a month.  We are concerned that this cut will result in reduced benefits, less access to care, and higher costs for seniors enrolled in these plans in North Carolina and throughout the country.

“We strongly urge CMS to reconsider the proposed cut to MA Retiree Coverage Plans in the 2017 Final Rate Notice to help ensure that MA employers will continue to offer this plan option, and seniors will continue to have a choice of MA plans to access high quality care.” 

Read the letter to CMS here.