Page 3

New Marketing Guidance Leaves Too Many Unanswered Questions Last week, the Medicare Rights Center submitted comments on new federal marketing guidance that will apply to Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D prescription drug plans in 2019. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency that oversees the Medicare program, updates and releases marketing guidance every year so that MA and drug plans have current, uniform rules for marketing their products safely and accurately, without discriminating against people with Medicare. Some years see minor tweaks to the rules, but other years, like this one, see wholesale changes in how plans may be marketed. We have significant concerns

about next year’s guidance, in part, due to what it fails to address. Starting in 2019, MA plans will have access to new flexibilities that may make the already complex plan selection process even more confusing. One example that we have discussed in the past is a new option for MA plans to offer a wider array of supplemental benefits. This is a brand-new opportunity for plans that will have significant implications for consumers – yet the updated guidelines do not address it at all. In not doing so, CMS has lost a valuable opportunity to establish firm guardrails to protect people with Medicare.

We also believe that the availability of supplemental benefits must not become just a sales tool and sponsors must not be permitted to use them as a marketing device to persuade beneficiaries into their plans. To the contrary, MA plans need guidance on how they can market plans with such benefits without cherry-picking and inappropriately steering potential enrollees. There are other points throughout the guidance where CMS appears to be easing marketing restrictions that were put in place to protect people with Medicare, and in response to persistent, documented abuses.

It was important for us to respond to this new guidance to inform the development of future guidelines. Our comments register our objections to any changes that may loosen or remove consumer protections, or leave gaps for harmful, misleading, or coercive marketing practices. More and more, people with Medicare need tools to find the right coverage for their individual circumstances. This requires robust oversight to protect beneficiary access to care, economic stability, and wellbeing. Read more about supplemental benefits. Read our comments. Read the new marketing guidelines.

New Documents Show Federal “Election Integrity Commission” was Sham President Donald Trump’s Election Integrity Commission, formed to investigate voter fraud, had pre-determined the findings of that report, according to documents made public last Friday. After a series of lawsuits, the commission was disbanded. Despite this, one of the commission’s members, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, feared he was being excluded from the commission’s work, which he suspected was being conducted entirely by commission chairman and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Dunlap sued to for ce Kobach to turn over commission materials. Dunlap won, and on

Friday, he released those records to the public. The records show that prior to the beginning of the investigation, Kobach and others had created a draft of the final report complete with several different sub-headings on voter fraud, with conclusions listed and evidence to be filled in later. They also show that the commission, which requested the personal information of every voter in the country over the objections of several secretaries of state, intended to seek confidential information from jury rolls from clerks of courts around the country.

Kobach further intended to promote his Crosscheck program, which independent experts have found to be wrong in 99% of purported matches. “A rigged investigation is just another in a long line of attempts to ‘fix’ a non-existent problem at the cost of voters’ rights,” said Executive Director Fiesta. “This investigation clearly hoped to make it more difficult for thousands of seniors and people of color to vote. We must remain vigilant about stopping attempts to purge lawful voters from the rolls prior to the midterm elections in

November.” To confirm your voter registration, contact your local board of elections or visit If you have recently moved or changed an address, you must contact your local board of elections to update your information. It is especially important to confirm your registration if you have not voted within recent election cycles. can provide specific information on your polling location, absentee ballots and voting, and set up election reminders. For those who have not registered to vote, you can do so online or by contacting your local board of elections.

A leading Republican urges reform for Medicare and Social Security as deficits balloon after the GOP's tax cut Rep. Steve Stivers , R-Ohio, has the toughest job in politics right now: trying to stop a Democratic "blue wave"at the polls this fall. Stivers, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, sat down to talk to CNBC's John Harwood about the campaign and other factors. Here is an excerpt from the interview: Read the interview here Rhode Island Alliance for Retired Americans, Inc. • 94 Cleveland Street • North Providence, RI • 02904-3525 • 401-480-8381 •

Profile for RI ARA

RI ARA August , 2018 E-Newsletter  

RI ARA August , 2018 E-Newsletter  

Profile for riara0