May 8, 2018

Statement on the U.S. House of Representatives Ways & Means Committee Hearing on
the Medicare Advantage Program, by Joe Baker, President of the Medicare Rights Center

We appreciate the importance of empowering people with Medicare to make informed, timely, and optimal choices about their coverage, whether through Medicare Advantage or traditional Medicare. As several of the members and witnesses discussed, and as our experience assisting people with Medicare and their families confirms, older adults and people with disabilities need access to robust, unbiased tools and resources, as well as timely, accurate information about how and when to enroll, to meaningfully exercise this choice.

Accordingly, we welcome the attention today’s hearing brought to opportunities to improve existing beneficiary assistance and communication pathways, including the Medicare Plan Finder tool, as well as its focus on the vital role the State Health Insurance Assistance Programs (SHIPs) have in helping people with Medicare understand their rights and navigate their coverage options. With changes coming to Medicare Advantage next year that will  increase plan flexibility—and consumer confusion—the adequacy and accessibility of these resources will be more important than ever.

Looking ahead, as the Medicare landscape continues to shift, we will continue to work with Congress and the Administration to promote informed choices, strengthen beneficiary decision-making, and expand benefits and care innovations across the Medicare program.

Press Contact: Mitchell Clark –

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Medicare Rights Center is a national, nonprofit consumer service organization that works to ensure access to affordable health care for older adults and people with disabilities through counseling and advocacy, educational programs, and public policy initiatives.

Available only through the Medicare Rights Center, Medicare Interactive (MI) is a free and independent online reference tool that provides easy-to-understand answers to questions posed by people with Medicare, their families and caregivers, and the professionals serving them. Find your Medicare answers at

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