Last week, Medicare Rights sent a sign-on letter from 50 state and national organizations to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), urging the agencies to reinstate important COVID-19 related Medicare enrollment flexibilities. As previously discussed, this is necessary to help at-risk individuals connect with their coverage during the pandemic. Re-opening these enrollment pathways aligns with the administration’s COVID-19 response strategy, including the decision to improve access to Marketplace plans. We applaud that change and implore the administration not to leave older adults and people with disabilities behind.
This enrollment ask was also part of a more comprehensive letter that Medicare Rights and the Center for Medicare Advocacy sent to HHS and CMS on February 9. Together, we outlined Medicare, Medicaid, and Affordable Care Act policies that need immediate agency attention due to looming deadlines and the unmet needs of millions of Americans.
In addition to simplifying Medicare transitions during the COVID-19 public health emergency, other issues include further changes to ensure all Medicare-eligible individuals can access their earned benefits during the pandemic; improvements to Medicare outreach and enrollment strategies to promote timely, effective BENES Act implementation and the availability of accurate consumer tools; and an increase in regulatory review efforts to prevent harmful or rushed program modifications. With respect to actions outside of Medicare, we asked the administration to protect access to Healthcare.gov, revoke a misinterpretation of Medicaid Maintenance of Effort (MOE) requirements, and restore Medicaid safeguards.
We look forward to working with our partners and with policymakers to advance these and other critical reforms.
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