President’s Forum 121 – Videos/Podcast Episodes #6 and #7

NRLN videos/podcasts Episodes #6 and #7 are completed. Episode #6 provides information to help you choose a Medicare Part D prescription drug plan during the Medicare and Medicare Advantage enrollment period that ends December 7th. Episode #7 is about Medicare Privatization and the Quality Bonus Plan (QBP) 5-star rating rebates.

To view the videos or listen to the podcasts go to www.nrln.org and click on the videos/podcast artwork in the center column of the NRLN website home page. Then select the Episode #6 or #7video in the NRLN videos/podcast library.

Episode #6 encourages the use of the “Medicare and You” handbook and accessing the “Plan-Finder” on www.medicare.gov to create a personal account and load a personal prescription drug list to obtain premium, deductible and annual prescription drugs cost for any plan.

If you are signing up for Original Medicare or a Medigap plan or if you select a Medicare Advantage plan without a Part D prescription drug plan, all you will need is the “Medicare and You” handbook and access www.Medicare.gov and the Plan-Finder.

If you select a Medicare Advantage plan that includes a Part D prescription drug plan you will also need to make sure your drug list is compatible with the Part D plan formulary.

If you are in Original Medicare or a Medicare Advantage plan and want to switch plans or want to drop or switch your Plan D prescription drug plan you will need your Annual Notice of Change (ANOC)to make sure you compare the latest information in your plan. You will also need to make sure your drug list is compatible with the formulary of plans being considered. Be sure to consult Medicare plan switching rules on page 74 of the “Medicare and You” handbook.

Episode #7 cites 18 additional so-called chronic benefits funded by Congress in 2019 and 2020 to attract more retirees to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans that Original Medicare beneficiaries do not receive.

Over the 23-year period from 1997 to 2020, a generation of members of Congress and four presidents have spent over $400 billion in rebates to subsidize the privatization of Medicare. In 2020 rebates are forecast to be $122 a month, $1,464 a year per Medicare Advantage plan enrollee. It is expected that insurance companies will receive $38 billion in rebates for 26 million Medicare Advantage
enrollees based on QBP 5-star ratings.

MedPAC, Congress’ watchdog over Centers of Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) rebate payments said in its 2020 report to Congress, “Over the years, the Commission has discussed the flaws in the 5-star system and the QBP and the continuing erosion of the reliability of data on the quality of Medicare Advantage plans. The current state of quality reporting in Medicare Advantage is such that the Commission’s yearly updates on Medicare Advantage can no longer provide an accurate description of the quality of care in Medicare Advantage.”

It’s time to protect those in Medicare Advantage, particularly those in HMO plans, and to apply that $38 billion to attack Original Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) healthcare product and service provider costs, the real problem, and to apply innovative ideas and programs to Original Medicare to save it. This will require that Congress eliminate all barriers like competitive bidding restrictions and others placed on Original Medicare.

The NRLN is interested in receiving your feedback and/or questions on its videos/podcasts. You may contact us at contact@nrln.org or call Toll-Free at 1-866-360-7197.

Remember, Seniors are Special!

Bill Kadereit, President
National Retiree Legislative Network