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YMCA, Meals on Wheels America Join Better Medicare Alliance; Voice Support for Medicare Advantage

Better Medicare Alliance Grows to 62

 

Washington, D.C. (June 17, 2016) – Stalwart community-based organizations the YMCA and Meals on Wheels America are among 62 organizations who have joined the growing Better Medicare Alliance (BMA), the leading advocacy coalition dedicated to supporting Medicare Advantage as an option in Medicare. 

Also known as Medicare Part C, Medicare Advantage is the part of Medicare that presents a high value, affordable option for seniors and people with disabilities. Medicare Advantage’s framework incentivizes innovative efforts to improve prevention, coordinated care, better management of chronic conditions, and provider payment models that reward value over volume. As a result of these innovations, Medicare Advantage is enhancing seniors’ health and well-being, while driving systemic improvements in care delivery.

“Community-based organizations like the Y and Meals on Wheels partner with Medicare Advantage plans to enable efforts that improve health outcomes, reduce costs, and make health care more accessible. BMA is excited about the perspective these two organizations bring to the coalition who are involved in the community – often with the most vulnerable populations - and have seen the firsthand what is working in Medicare Advantage,” said Allyson Y. SchwartzPresident & CEO of Better Medicare Alliance.

The YMCA, a community-based nonprofit in more than 10,000 communities across the country has worked to become a leading provider of chronic disease prevention programs. A catalyst in community integrated health, the YMCA has led the way in establishing evidence-based partnerships with providers, particularly Medicare Advantage plans, to help seniors adopt exercise, healthy diet and other positive lifestyle changes outside of the clinic and hospital setting.

“With initiatives like the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program, the Y has made significant steps to effectively address gaps in care that keep too many people from utilizing preventive services. We would not be making the progress that we are without effective partnerships with health care providers and insurers. Medicare Advantage plans are particularly important partners in this work and are providing proven services in neighborhoods where their members live, work and play. As an ally of the Better Medicare Alliance, we look forward to continuing to investigate best practices for coordinated, community-based care with these plans,” said Dr. Matt Longjohn, National Health Officer, YMCA of USA.

Research shows that Medicare Advantage is a critical source of coverage for low-income beneficiaries - over 37% of Medicare Advantage enrollees have annual incomes of less than $20,000.

Meals on Wheels America is the oldest and largest national organization supporting more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. With more than two million staff and volunteers, the Meals on Wheels network delivers nutritious meals and support services to American seniors over the age of 60 to help provide a nourished quality of life and to enable them to live independently.

“Meals on Wheels America is forging a path by partnering with providers and plans to significantly reduce hospital admissions and readmissions for high-risk, high-cost beneficiaries. We are looking forward to joining like-minded organizations in the Better Medicare Alliance who also believe in the great value that integrated, community-based care can bring to Medicare Advantage beneficiaries,” said Erika Kelly, Chief Advocacy and Government Affairs Officer, Meals on Wheels America.

More than 17 million Medicare beneficiaries rely on Medicare Advantage for their health and financial security and over 97% of Medicare Advantage plans offer at least a vision, hearing, or dental benefit. Three organizations including the National Association of Dental PlansLIBERTY Dental Plan Foundation, and the American Telemedicine Association join VSP Vision Care as important voices in BMA providing perspective on the value of inclusion of enhanced benefits in Medicare.

BMA also welcomes as new allies aging service organizations such as the Senior Resource Alliance, thePhiladelphia Corporation for Aging, LeadingAge and the Consortium for Older Adult Wellness; nursing groups including the National Black Nurses AssociationNational Association of Hispanic Nurses Garden State ChapterNew Jersey State Nurses Association as well as the National Association of Health Underwriters, the American Benefits Council, Virtua - a non-profit healthcare system, and several business groups in Pennsylvania, Colorado, and New Jersey.

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