Honorable Sylvia Burwell
Secretary, US Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Ave., SW
Washington DC 20201
Dear Secretary Burwell:
On behalf of the Michigan Chamber’s nearly 6,800 member employers, trade associations and local chambers of commerce, we urge you to reconsider the proposed policy changes that will lead to cuts to Medicare Advantage (MA) Retiree Coverage, also known as employer group waiver plans (EGWP). These changes, released in the 2017 MA Advance Notice (February 19, 2016), will negatively impact nearly 305,000 Michigan retirees, costing them between $70-80 million more per year, according to the actuarial firm of Milliman, Inc.
MA plans represent the future of health care delivery as the system continues to move toward customized, integrated care. Unlike Medicare fee-for-service (FFS), MA plans provide more comprehensive health care services, focusing on care coordination, prevention and wellness to minimize disease progression and treat those with chronic illnesses.
This type of innovative approach to health care is why an ever-increasing number of employers and unions are choosing MA Retiree Coverage. In fact, more than 3 million retirees nationwide receive health insurance coverage through an employer in the form of MA Retiree Coverage. Employers consistently favor these plans because of the high rates of retiree satisfaction and superior coverage of care coordination and disease management programs not available in FFS coverage.
Many employers and employees prefer MA plans because they offer innovative integrated care. Employers and employees also value the reduced out-of-pocket costs and financial protections, including reduced premiums for Part B and D, out-of-pocket maximums and lower cost-sharing on medical and pharmacy benefits than FFS.
We urge CMS to protect the MA program so that America’s retirees can continue to receive the highly valued benefits and services that MA plans offer. Thank you again for the opportunity to comment.
Director of Health Policy & Human Resources
Michigan Chamber of Commerce