The San Juan Daily Star
Senator files resolution to stop Medicare Advantage cut
By The Star Staff
In order to stop the proposed 2.27% cut to the budget of the Medicare Advantage (MA) programs in Puerto Rico proposed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for the federal fiscal year that begins Oct. 1, 2024, Sen. Keren Riquelme Cabrera announced Monday the filing of a concurrent resolution for the island Senate and House of Representatives to join the fight to stop the cut estimated at over $840 million.
“This cut proposed by CMS represents a direct blow to seniors, as well as those with special needs, who are the beneficiaries of MA plans,” Riquelme said. “These plans are essential for 640,000 beneficiaries because they supplement their basic Medicare Part A coverage. With this concurrent resolution we send a clear and forceful message that the Legislature of Puerto Rico is united behind the rejection of this unnecessary cut that will have as an immediate effect a significant loss of people with these plans.”
On March 7, CMS established a real reduction of 2.27% to MA programs beginning with the federal fiscal year 2024.
According to the Advance Rate Notice for fiscal year 2024 issued by CMS, the dramatic cut was recommended based on a series of calculations centered on the concept of a “savings trend” related to the 1.03% increase announced for the program.
However, the aforementioned increase is not correlated with demographic changes and the availability of new health care platforms in Puerto Rico, Riquelme noted.
Moreover, the notice also fails to take into consideration projections developed by the Federal Medicare Trustees on Medicare beneficiary costs for fiscal year 2024, which will grow to a minimum of 5% as a result of several factors, including the historic inflation rate, the New Progressive Party senator pointed out.
Due to the political relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States, residents of the island eligible for Medicare, which includes seniors, as well as those citizens with special needs, are only approved for Part A of the program, which provides assistance to defray the costs of hospitalizations. Part B of the program, which provides medical coverage for appointments, among other expenses, does not apply fully to U.S. citizens living in Puerto Rico. The same applies to Parts C and D of the aforementioned program.
A concurrent resolution expresses the position of the legislative body on a particular issue.