America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) is flexing its lobbying muscle in an effort to galvanize 2 million Medicare Advantage beneficiaries to convince the federal government not to cut their benefits, according to an announcement from the Coalition for Medicare Choices (CMC).
In 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized several policies that changed health plans' disease management and care coordination programs, which had a direct impact on 17 million seniors who rely on Medicare Advantage, the announcement says. For example, it says, the changes to the risk adjustment model resulted in a 2 percent cut on average to Medicare Advantage.
To make its case against the policies, CMC members throughout last year have engaged with presidential candidates from both parties and worked with members of Congress, the coalition adds.
The AHIP-CMC campaign will include television and digital advertising, mobilizing beneficiaries so they can be in direct contact with their representatives and lawmakers, and engaging CMC's social media community. The goal is to lobby against any further cuts to the Medicare Advantage program.
According to AHIP President and CEO Marilyn Tavenner, Medicare Advantage is the "foundation for innovative, high-quality care delivery that seniors and the country demand." She added that CMS must bear the responsibility of protecting Medicare Advantage beneficiaries.
Tavenner, who took the helm at AHIP following the departure of longtime CEO Karen Ignagni, has faced considerable challenges in her tenure as the head of the health insurance industry's leading trade group. Recently she said she hopes to win back both UnitedHealth and Aetna, as the two large insurers left AHIP in the past year, sparking questions about the organization's future as a unified voice for the industry.
To learn more:
- read the announcement