News Department

Menendez questions witnesses about how to protect seniors from deceptive marketing during Medicare Advantage annual enrollment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) Wednesday questioned witnesses during a U.S. Senate Finance Committee hearing on the Medicare Advantage annual enrollment period with a focus on how older adults and people with disabilities navigate their Medicare coverage options.

Sen. Menendez asked Ms. Krista Hoglund, Chief Executive Officer for Security Health Plan, what Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) should be considering to strengthen enforcement and hold bad actors accountable.

“CMS has recently implemented changes to rein in misleading Medicare Advantage (MA) marketing practices. Yet, marketers are finding ways around these requirements. As a matter of fact, the number of complaints that have been filed nearly doubled,” Menendez said. “A recent Commonwealth Fund survey found that 10% of respondents reported that marketing callers would ask for their Medicare or Social Security Number, which is not permitted under Medicare law. Further, while cold-calling is specifically prohibited, three out of four respondents reported receiving unsolicited calls.”

The Senator questioned Ms. Christina Reeg, Director of Ohio Senior Health Insurance Information Program for the Ohio Department of Insurance, about how more resources to State Health Information and Assistance Programs (SHIPs) could support their efforts to protect low-income individuals and those with disabilities.

“As you know, State Health Information and Assistance Programs, known as SHIPs, are trusted sources of information for many seniors and people living with disabilities,” Menendez said. “These federally funded resources are tasked with educating and assisting Medicare-eligible individuals through outreach, counseling, and training and specifically support low-income individuals, those with disabilities, and individuals who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.”

Sen. Menendez also asked Ms. Reeg about what else can be done specifically to better support these vulnerable populations and ensure they receive the care they need.

“I’m troubled by reports that vulnerable individuals, particularly low-income and dually eligible, are being targeted by deceptive marketing tactics and are often enrolled in plans that just simply don’t meet their needs,” Menendez said.

The Senator concluded by asking Mr. Cobi Blumenfeld-Grantz, the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Chapter, what consumers should know about making plan decisions that best meet their needs.

“We know that seniors often find the process of selecting their coverage to be confusing, difficult, and overwhelming. I was looking at it, now that there is open enrollment, and I’m not sure that even as someone who’s pretty well-versed in some of this I would know how to make the best decisions,” Menendez said. “Many Medicare beneficiaries rely on a broker to assist them when choosing their coverage. Almost one in three people ages 65 and over said they used a broker or agent to help them choose their Medicare coverage. Yet, they still often don’t end up in plans that are best for them.”

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

Related Articles

Back to top button