In addition to working with the American Medical Association and PAI, CSMS physician leaders have been in contact with the Connecticut Congressional delegation since the cuts were first announced in October 2013. Sen. Blumenthal held a Hartford field hearing on the issue in January, and invited CSMS to present formal testimony. Rep. DeLauro’s sustained efforts are particularly appreciated; she has hosted multiple public meetings, calls and other venues for patients and physicians in the community. She has reached out to other government agencies, including the General Accounting office, to gather support for changes. Rep. DeLauro developed the idea of protecting Medicare Advantage (MA) patients in response to ongoing concerns about the UnitedHealthcare MA network cuts. In April, Rep. DeLauro introduced her idea for the Medicare Advantage Participant Bill of Rights, which would provide much-needed transparency and fairness to the Medicare Advantage program.
The bill proposes a number of improvements to the current MA guidelines, including
- Prevent insurers from dropping MA providers without cause during the middle of the year
- Require insurers to finalize MA plan provider networks 60 days in advance of the annual Medicare Open Enrollment period
- Provide increased notice to beneficiaries and providers (including critical information such as names and phone numbers of remaining in-network providers, customer services numbers for questions on network changes, etc.)
- Increase transparency regarding the measures used by MA organizations to develop plan providers; and
- Request that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to review and update its Medicare Compare tools and network adequacy process
CSMS is proud to state its support for the Medicare Advantage Participant Bill of Rights Act, which will bring much-needed fairness and transparency to the Medicare Advantage program. This bill will help protect Medicare Advantage patients and the physicians who care for them from arbitrary, profit-driven decisions by insurers.
On behalf of CSMS' 6,000 physician and physician-in-training members across the state, we thank Representative DeLauro and Senator Blumenthal for their continued efforts, and we look forward to working with them in the future to make further improvements to a program that cares for approximately 32,000 Connecticut seniors.
CSMS Director of Communications