Friday, April 06, 2007

BCBS Supports Medicare Advantage

Washington
2007 March 21
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association


President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, Scott P. Serota, Releases Statement Supporting Medicare Advantage...


The House Ways and Means health subcommittee hearing today on Medicare Advantage (MA) offers an excellent opportunity to reinforce for the Congress and the public the critical, value-enhanced health coverage private health plans provide to 8.3 million Americans. The provide comprehensive, coordinated benefits not available in traditional Medicare.


According to CMS, MA plans provide Medicare beneficiaries with an average monthly value of $86. The additional benefits and protection from the high cost-sharing under traditional Medicare that MA plans provide is particularly valuable to low-income seniors. A significant challenge facing the Medicare beneficiary population today is the management of care for chronic illness - 82 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries have at least one chronic condition and 65 percent have multiple conditions.


MA is helping our nation's seniors meet this challenge by providing access to care coordination, disease management programs, and chronic care and wellness programs that are not offered through traditional Medicare.
Proposed funding cuts - which would be in addition to the $13 billion already eliminated from the program in the last Congress - will have devastating consequences.


Reducing MA payments to county-level costs under traditional Medicare would result in millions of MA enrollees losing coverage due to increases in premiums, reductions in benefits, or withdrawal of their MA plan.


Low-income and minority populations rely disproportionately on this program and would be harmed by the loss of the protection MA provides from the high cost-sharing under traditional Medicare. Finally, as Congress debates the future funding of Medicare Advantage, it should not lose sight of the fact that beneficiaries are overwhelmingly satisfied with the MA program.


In a recent survey for BCBSA conducted by The Mellman Group, 84 percent of the respondents said they are happy with their healthcare coverage and 97 percent of the MA beneficiaries said they believe it is important for Congress to work to maintain adequate funding for Medicare Advantage.


The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association is made up of 39 independent, locally operated Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies that collectively provide healthcare coverage for more than 98 million - nearly one-in-three- Americans.

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