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Congressman Ron Kind

Representing the 3rd District of Wisconsin

Reps. Kind, Kelly, Doyle, and Guthrie Introduce Bill to Expand Access to High-Quality Medicare Advantage Plans for Older Americans

April 8, 2019
Press Release

Reps. Kind, Kelly, Doyle, and Guthrie Introduce Bill to Expand Access to High-Quality Medicare Advantage Plans for Older Americans

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Mike Doyle (D-PA), and Brett Guthrie (R-KY), introduced the bipartisan Medicare Advantage Quality Payment Relief Act, which would reward high-performing Medicare Advantage health plans and lower premiums for American seniors.

In order to improve quality for American seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, Congress created a quality incentive payment program designed to reward high-performing plans for providing high-quality care. Unfortunately the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has subjected quality bonus payments to a payment “benchmark cap.” This glitch in how HHS has interpreted the benchmark cap cuts off the full quality incentive payments to the highest quality 4- and 5-star health plans. In 2018, high-performing plans missed out on over $800 million in quality bonus payments which are required to be returned to enrollees in the form of lower premiums or enhanced benefits.

“Older Americans deserve the best quality coverage and care we can provide. I am proud to work together to introduce this bipartisan fix to ensure Medicare Advantage beneficiaries have access to high-quality, affordable health care plan options,” said Rep. Ron Kind.

“Medicare Advantage plans are rapidly growing and well-serving millions of American seniors, especially in western Pennsylvania. This bill would ensure that these seniors have access to additional benefits and a higher level of care. Seniors deserve these extra benefits to stay healthy in their golden years!” said Rep. Mike Kelly.

 “I’m a cosponsor of this bill to fix the reimbursement rules so they stop penalizing high-performing plans, and ultimately promote better care and broader coverage for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries,” said Rep. Mike Doyle.

“Medicare Advantage plans offer seniors flexibility and additional services on top of traditional Medicare plans, providing quality health care. I have been proud to champion support for Medicare Advantage plans during my time in Congress. This bill will fix the star rating incentive payments to ensure Medicate Advantage beneficiaries receive the best care possible,” said Rep. Brett Guthrie.

The bipartisan Medicare Advantage Quality Payment Relief Act is supported by many impacted organizations and patient advocacy groups, including the Alliance of Community Health Plans and the Better Medicare Alliance.

“In 2018, seniors missed out on $821 million in increased services and reduced premiums due to the payment glitch,” said Alliance of Community Health Plans President and CEO Ceci Connolly. “We thank Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT), Angus King (I-ME), and Reps. Ron Kind (D-WI), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Mike Doyle (D-PA) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) for their leadership on this issue. ACHP and our members are committed to making high-quality coverage and care accessible, and recognizing top quality in Medicare Advantage is central to this goal.”

“The benchmark cap on high-quality in Medicare Advantage continues to unfairly impact Medicare beneficiaries today. Better Medicare Alliance commends Congressmen Ron Kind, Mike Doyle, Brett Guthrie, and Mike Kelly for standing up for millions of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries who deserve access to supplemental benefits that are unavailable to them. We appreciate that they continue to be champions on this issue,” said Allyson Y. Schwartz, Better Medicare Alliance (BMA) President and CEO.

 

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