WASHINGTON, D.C. – (September 20, 2023) – More than 31 million seniors and people with disabilities choose Medicare Advantage because it delivers better services, better access to care, and better value for patients and taxpayers. Yesterday, multiple leaders gathered to discuss the Addressing Whole Health in Medicare Advantage Act, newly introduced legislation led by Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) that will expand supplemental benefits in Medicare Advantage that address health-related social needs, as well as a new report on the uptake of Medicare Advantage supplemental benefits.
Representing a diverse audience, the panelists were unified in how these supplemental benefits are helping people get and stay healthy and how expanding the eligibility criteria for Medicare Advantage supplemental benefits will help even more Americans improve their health.
Event attendees included leaders from Mom’s Meals, the Elevance Health Public Policy Institute, AHIP, and the Coalition for Medicare Choices (CMC). Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) kicked off the briefing to announce his legislation and continued commitment to the program.
What They’re Saying
"This commonsense legislation employs the basic principles of value-based health care. We must look at the big picture. It is impossible to improve the population health of communities without addressing the factors that contribute to poor health outcomes. Prevention, education, and access are essential components of effective health care programs such as Medicare. Allowing Medicare Advantage programs to tailor supplemental programs based upon these factors can both help save money in the long run and more importantly improve patient outcomes for high risk seniors. This is not just a pragmatic approach, it is the right thing to do as we work to ensure all seniors receive the best possible care." - Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
“Supplemental benefits are a key component of the Medicare Advantage program. We know that the health of a patient is affected by not just the medical system but access to things like transportation, healthy food, and clean air. Expanding who can receive these services is a commonsense solution to invest in whole health.”- Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)
“As noted in our report, supplemental benefits are being used by the vast majority of our Medicare Advantage plan enrollees, with most using multiple benefits. This suggests that these benefits are helping CMS and plans address beneficiaries’ health-related social needs." -Jennifer Kowalski, Vice President, Elevance Health Public Policy Institute.
“Nourishing the body with the right foods can have a significant impact on one’s health. The supplemental benefits in Medicare Advantage support good nutrition, which is essential in helping people maintain good health and stay out of the hospital or nursing home."-Catherine Macpherson, Senior Vice President of Healthcare Strategy and Chief Nutrition Officer at Mom’s Meals.
“I owe my successful recovery from a stroke and return to music to Medicare Advantage. The excellent care and low costs have been invaluable. Additional benefits like grocery allowances further extend my budget, contributing to my overall well-being and nutrition.” -Gregory Smith – Bronx, NY, CMC Member
“I value the significance of making services accessible in rural areas. With Medicare Advantage, I can rest easy knowing that high-quality health care is within reach, no matter where I live. The plan I have provides integrated care and telehealth options, as well as supplemental benefits like transportation assistance when mobility is a challenge.” -Ron Walters – St. Albans, WV, CMC Member
“Supplemental benefits offered by Medicare Advantage plans address barriers to good health that exist outside of the hospital room or physician’s office. We thank Rep. Bilirakis for the introduction of this bill. By giving Medicare Advantage plans more flexibility, we can dramatically improve the well-being of seniors who are chronically ill, which will result in important savings in the Medicare program for taxpayers.”-Sohini Gupta, AHIP Executive Vice President of Government Affairs & Innovations
Medicare Advantage serves a population of people who are more diverse and have more clinically complex conditions when compared to traditional Medicare enrollees. With Medicare Advantage enrollees coming from more diverse backgrounds than enrollees in traditional Medicare, Medicare Advantage plans can use supplemental benefits to reduce health inequities. By keeping seniors and people with disabilities healthier, Medicare Advantage plans help to lower costs, reducing the burden on taxpayers as well as seniors.
- Read the Elevance Health report.
- Find more AHIP resources on Medicare Advantage.
- View AHIP’s Medicare Advantage By the Numbers.
- Listen to AHIP’s Next Big Thing In Health podcast, “Healthy Food is Health Care”