Press Releases

Better Medicare Alliance Lauds CMS Guidance Allowing Mid-Year Benefit Enhancements in Response to COVID-19

Washington, D.C. – Better Medicare Alliance (BMA), the leading research and advocacy organization supporting Medicare Advantage, responded to guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) allowing Medicare Advantage to provide mid-year benefit enhancements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The move follows a dedicated advocacy effort from Better Medicare Alliance, including an April 3 letter to CMS which asks "that CMS allow for mid-year enhancements or modifications to supplemental benefit offerings ... during the COVID-19 emergency." 

"This announcement by CMS is a proud win for Better Medicare Alliance's advocacy efforts and, more importantly, for the 24.4 million Medicare Advantage enrollees who will benefit from this new flexibility allowing Medicare Advantage to innovate and expand offerings in response to the coronavirus crisis,said Allyson Y. Schwartz, President and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance. "Even before the height of coronavirus, more than two-thirds of Medicare Advantage plans provided access to remote access technologies like telehealth, while roughly half offer meal benefits that can help meet seniors' nutritional needs while keeping them safe at home. This guidance ensures that Medicare Advantage can take further steps to meet beneficiaries' needs in these unprecedented times, including expanded use of new technologies by beneficiaries from their homes. On behalf of our Allies and grassroots beneficiary advocates, we thank CMS for heeding our recommendations for action and are eager to work together on additional reasonable solutions to ensure certainty for plans, providers, and patients alike in the months ahead."