Press Release             

Contact: Akiko Takano
Deputy Director of Communications
April 6, 2010

Statement by Medicare Rights Center President Joe Baker on
Announcement by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
of 2011 Payment Rates and Plan Requirements
for Medicare Private Health and Drug Plans

New York, NY—The 2011 payment rates and plan requirements for Medicare private health and drug plans (also known as the Call Letter) that were announced yesterday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) begin the implementation of health care reform contained in legislation recently signed by President Obama. Changes such as the start of the phase-out of the so-called “doughnut hole” represent major victories for Medicare consumers and advocates, who have been fighting for these changes since the passage of the Medicare Modernization Act in 2003.

Enrollment periods will also be simplified next year. Starting on January 1, 2011, there will be a new 45-day Annual Disenrollment Period (ADP), when people who are dissatisfied with their Medicare Advantage plan can switch to Original Medicare.

CMS’s announcement acknowledged that further steps need to be taken to ensure that people with low incomes are in plans that best serve their needs, but fell short of implementing them for the 2011 plan year. We look forward to working with CMS to ensure that the needs of this vulnerable population are better met.


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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.


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