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2023 Archives: Health and Family

AARP correspondence to lawmakers and regulators

The following documents related to health care concerns of people 50-plus are presented in reverse chronological order.


L: On March 17, 2023, AARP submitted comments responding to a Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee request for information regarding health care workforce shortages. The RFI follows a hearing the committee held to examine ways to increase health care workforce participation and improve access to providers. AARP’s comments highlight the role, importance, and need for caretakers who are often overlooked by the health care system – family caregivers, nurses, and home health aides. As Americans age, it is increasingly important to support and sustain the providers who are most in contact with individuals. (PDF)

S: On March 15, 2023, AARP provided a statement for the record to U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Chairman Bob Casey and Ranking Member Mike Braun for a hearing titled “Uplifting Families, Workers, and Older Adults: Supporting Communities of Care.” Families in search of long-term care services, including care at home, now enter a world that is confusing, costly, under-regulated, and lacking in transparency. Too often, those families feel forced into institutional settings, while individuals who end up in nursing homes often yearn to stay in their homes near family and friends. Finding care at home is extremely challenging: families often must desperately cobble together a patchwork of care and services they need. AARP’s statement covered the topics of Supporting Family Caregivers, Home Care, and the Paid Direct Care Workforce. (PDF)

L: On March 13, AARP submitted comment to CMS on a proposed rule aimed at improving the Medicare Advantage (MA) prior authorization system. AARP has been advocating for improvements to the MA prior authorization system since the March 2022 HHS Inspector General report stating that MA beneficiaries were denied prior authorization requests at a higher rate than those in traditional Medicare. The improvements include data transparency requirements, improved wait times for prior authorization decisions, and improved electronic communications between insurance carriers and medical providers. (PDF)

L: On March 10, 2023, AARP sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services providing comments on the initial guidance of requirements and procedures for the new Medicare Prescription Drug Inflation Rebate Program created by federal law in 2022. AARP's comments express strong support for the program and note the ways in which the program will bring down prescription drug prices for individuals on Medicare. The letter notes CBO's estimate that the lower drug prices that result from the inflation rebate provision will also lead to declines in spending on other Medicare-covered services due to increased drug adherence. (PDF)

L: On March 3, 2023 AARP sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services providing comments on the proposed Advance Notice of Methodological Changes for Calendar Year (CY) 2024 for Medicare Advantage (MA) Capitation Rates and Part C and Part D Payment Policies. AARP's comments express support for improvements to Part D coming in 2024, including eliminating any cost-sharing for consumers in the catastrophic phase of coverage and expanding eligibility for the Low-Income Subsidy (“Extra Help”) program, which assists people with limited incomes and resources to pay their out-of-pocket prescription drug costs in Medicare. These improvements are part of the new federal prescription drug pricing law that AARP supported in 2022, and the letter encourages CMS to enhance its outreach and education efforts so Medicare beneficiaries are informed about the ongoing improvements to their coverage. Regarding MA payment rates, the letter also reaffirms AARP's principles of assuring consumers a robust choice of both traditional Medicare and MA, striving to keep both options strong and on a level playing field. (PDF)


L: On February 24th, 2023, AARP sent a letter to Chairman Jon Tester and Ranking Member Jerry Moran of the U.S. Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs expressing support for the Expanding Veterans’ Options for Long-Term Care Act. This bill would establish a three-year pilot program to assess the effectiveness of providing assisted living services to eligible veterans. The feedback and experience of participating veterans would also be examined. The legislation also includes important provisions regarding the pilot’s structure, including the availability of services in rural or highly rural areas, provider participation in Medicaid, inspections and standards for facilities, and continuity of care for veterans when the pilot program ends. (PDF)

L: On February 16, 2023, AARP sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell expressing support for five bills aimed at increasing prescription drug competition and price transparency that recently passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support (S.79, S.113, S.142, S.148, and S.150). AARP's comments focus on the need to prohibit anticompetitive practices by big drug companies that prevent or delay consumer access to less expensive generic and biosimilar drugs (PDF)

C: On February 13, 2023 AARP sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services providing comments on the proposed Contract Year 2024 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Program (Part D).  AARP believes that all Medicare beneficiaries, whether they participate in traditional Medicare or Medicare Advantage, should have a genuine choice among coverage options and quality providers. (PDF)


L: On January 31, 2023, AARP sent a letter to Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rogers and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. of the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce expressing deep concerns about H.R. 382 the Pandemic is Over Act. AARP notes the devastating impact that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have on older adults and urges that the PHE should continue until cases have been reduced and there is an orderly transition in place to ensure all Americans can get the care they need. The letter also urges continued support for requiring nursing home staff vaccinations. (PDF)

C: On January 30, 2023, AARP submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2024. AARP’s comments are supportive of the proposals set forth in the Notice and applauds the continued efforts of CMS to expand access to, and enrollment in, quality, affordable, health insurance coverage ̶ especially for the more than 5 million Americans aged 50-64 who get their coverage through an exchange. AARP’s comments specifically supported requiring agents, brokers, or web-brokers assisting with enrollment and/or financial assistance applications through the various marketplaces to document that application information has been reviewed and confirmed to be accurate by the consumer prior to submission, clarifying that only one person in a household (including a dependent) would need to qualify for a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) in order for the entire family to qualify, expanding the window of notification of a life event from 60 days to 90 days, more options for Standardized Plans, increased access to standalone dental plans, and the establishment of two new Essential Community Provider (ECP) categories to better serve the needs of enrollees. (PDF)

L: On January 27, 2023 AARP sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to provide comments on New Mexico’s Centennial Care five-year Medicaid 1115 Demonstration Waiver renewal request (hereafter “1115 waiver renewal request”). AARP’s comments focused most specifically on the Medicaid home and community-based services (HCBS or home care) enhancements serving older adults and adults with physical disabilities generally under the state’s Community Benefit (CB) program. (PDF)

L: On January 13, 2023 AARP sent a letter to U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, Thomas Carper, Tim Scott, Mark Warner, John Cornyn and Robert Menendez responding to their request for information regarding “dual eligible” enrollees—that is, individuals enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid—and possibilities to better coordinate and improve their care. AARP shares their interest in not only improving the data and knowledge base regarding the needs of dual eligibles, but in using this information to improve the quality and effectiveness of their care as well as the various payment and care models that have been tested to optimize their lives. (PDF)