Act Today! Tell Congress to Strengthen Medicare
Congress is currently considering strategies to improve health coverage and care. Weigh in today to make sure that Medicare is part of the conversation.
Medicare offers critical health coverage to 62 million older adults and individuals with disabilities, but many beneficiaries struggle to afford the care and medications they need. Half of all people with Medicare live on $29,650 or less per year, and one-quarter have less than $8,500 in savings.
Although most beneficiaries cannot afford to pay more for care, annual drug price hikes consistently exceed the rate of inflation and new drugs are launching at ever-higher price points. At the same time, Medicare’s lack of comprehensive coverage for oral, vision, and hearing services continues to expose beneficiaries to high out-of-pocket costs, further embedding unaffordability into the system. And they often have nowhere to turn for help. While low-income assistance programs and Medigap policies can help people with Medicare pay for coverage, eligibility and access rules are outdated and out of step with the needs of beneficiaries.
Congress must act immediately to address these challenges. Specific strategies we support include:
- Making Prescription Drugs More Affordable by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, capping and smoothing beneficiary out-of-pocket drug costs, and restructuring the Part D benefit to reduce Medicare’s liability and better align pricing incentives.
- Improving the Medicare Benefit by adding comprehensive dental, vision, and hearing coverage to Part B; establishing a limit on beneficiary out-of-pocket costs, program-wide; and expanding Medigap protections and purchase rights—including open enrollment, guaranteed issue, and community rating—to all people with Medicare.
- Easing Access to Medicare’s Low-income Programs by eliminating the unduly restrictive asset and eligibility tests for the Part D Low-Income Subsidy (LIS) and Medicare Savings Programs (MSPs); raising the income eligibility limit for the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program to 138% of poverty; and aligning enrollment standards and administrative functions across the programs.
- Modernizing Part D Appeals by strengthening data collection, transparency, and oversight; requiring independent redeterminations; allowing tiering exceptions and raising the specialty tier threshold; and improving plan communications with enrollees, including as outlined in the Streamlining Part D Appeals Process Act (S. 1861/H.R. 3924).
Together, these long-overdue, commonsense reforms would strengthen the Medicare program and promote beneficiary well-being. Join Medicare Rights in urging Congress to prioritize Medicare improvements.