Upstate NY Health Plans Support Legislation to Defend Medicare Advantage Plans for Seniors

Posted on June 25, 2024

Excellus BCBS logo

Upstate New York health plans are showing their support for recently introduced bipartisan legislation to protect benefits and access to care for hundreds of thousands of people enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans in upstate New York.

Excellus BlueCross BlueShield and MVP Health Care are speaking out in favor of the bipartisan legislation backed by Congresswoman Claudia Tenney (NY-24), Congressman Joseph Morelle (NY-25), Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Congressman Paul Tonko (NY-20), Congressman Nick Langworthy (NY-23), Congressman Brandon Williams (NY-22), and Congressman Marc Molinaro (NY-19).

A change last year in how the federal government sets hospital reimbursement rates for original Medicare resulted in a needed adjustment for upstate New York hospitals. The Medicare Wage Index adjusts a hospital's payments based on labor costs for a specific geographic area. The federal government increased the Medicare Wage Index for local hospitals by 20-40%. Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer announced the $1 billion increase for upstate New York hospitals in August 2023.

This change, however, resulted in significant financial hardships for upstate New York nonprofit health plans. The health plans use the federal government reimbursement rates to determine payments for hospitals who treat Medicare Advantage members. The health plans are now reimbursing hospitals more for Medicare Advantage members without a corresponding increase in government funding.

“Without a solution, the wage index will significantly impact more than 400,000 Medicare Advantage members with nonprofit health plans in upstate New York,” said Jim Reed, president and CEO of Excellus BCBS. “We thank our Congressmembers for addressing this important issue. This legislation, if passed, would help us maintain the quality and affordability of our Medicare Advantage programs while also ensuring more support for our local hospitals.”   

The funding gap could impact the affordability of Medicare Advantage plans in upstate New York, potentially resulting in out-of-pocket increases and reductions in benefits.

"We thank Congresswoman Tenney, Senator Schumer, and our bipartisan Congressional delegation for supporting this imperative legislation,” said Chris Del Vecchio, CEO of MVP Health Care. “This bill will authorize the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to make a region-specific Medicare adjustment to level the playing field for local, not-for-profit, community-based plans like MVP. It will ensure that MVP can continue to innovate with our community provider partners and provide critical supplemental benefits to our Medicare members."

The legislation would adjust the benchmark amounts reimbursed to health plans to ensure regional, nonprofit Medicare Advantage plans remain viable and members maintain their robust benefits and access to quality care.

Please read this news release to learn more about this bipartisan effort.

CenterState CEO

Other Member News

Credit Score 101
July 17, 2024

Credit Score 101 - Everything You Need to Know

Understanding and managing your credit score is a key step towards achieving financial stability and success. 

Larry Bousquet
July 16, 2024

Crouse Health Board of Directors Welcomes Two New Members

The Crouse Health Board of Directors has appointed two new directors.

SUNY Press Release: SUNY Chancellor King Announces Launch of $6 Million Upstate Biotech Ventures
July 16, 2024

SUNY Chancellor King Announces Launch of $6 Million Upstate Biotech Ventures

Upstate Biotech Ventures will invest in Startups and Small Businesses affiliated with Upstate Medical University to drive research and technology innovation.

Home Buyer Seminar
July 15, 2024

Sidney Federal Credit Union Home Buying Seminar

Join us for an information packed hour, designed to help you navigate the mortgage process with confidence!

Impel Acquires Automotive Customer Engagement Platform Outsell in $100M+ Deal
July 15, 2024

Impel Acquires Automotive Customer Engagement Platform Outsell in $100M+ Deal

Adding Outsell’s data-driven outreach capabilities to Impel AI creates the auto industry’s first end-to-end global AI sales and marketing automation platform.

July 15, 2024

Patenting Biotechnology: CRISPR, Antibodies, Diagnostics, and Protein Based Biomaterials

The basic concepts of intellectual property law will be introduced.

Danyel Akins-Barbara Clark_Solvay Bank New Hires
July 12, 2024

Solvay Bank Announces Two Recent Hires

Solvay Bank, the oldest community bank established in Onondaga County, is pleased to welcome two recent hires to its team: Danyel Akins and Barbara Clark.

Harris Beach
July 12, 2024

Harris Beach and Murtha Cullina Partners Approve New Operating Agreement for Combined Firm

Both firms have approved an Operating Agreement that will govern a new, combined firm to be known as Harris Beach Murtha.

July 12, 2024

The Illusionists - Magic of the Holidays are Coming to the Landmark Theatre Thursday, Nov. 21 at 7:30 p.m.

Celebrate the holidays with the entire family at The Illusionists – Magic of the Holidays, a mind-blowing showcase featuring jaw-dropping talents of the most incredible illusionists on earth.