The Trump administration is being criticized for sending emails that appear to hype private Medicare Advantage plans.
“Get more benefit for your money,” says one subject line, according to a Friday report in The New York Times. Another reads: “See if you can save money with Medicare Advantage.”
Open enrollment was to end Friday for Medicare Advantage plans, which now cover 37% of Medicare’s 60 million beneficiaries, the Times reports. Older Americans have been barraged with direct mail and other forms of marketing from private plans such as Humana.
The Trump administration emails, which say they were paid for by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, point Medicare beneficiaries to the Medicare plan finder.
“You may be able to lower your out-of-pocket costs while getting extra benefits, like vision, hearing, dental and prescription coverage,” says one, the Times reports.
Medicare officials deny that they were favoring one plan over another. But Richard S. Foster, the former nonpartisan chief actuary of Medicare, says the emails sounded “more like Medicare Advantage plan advertising than objective information from a public agency,” according to the Times.
Foster adds: “The statements made in the emails are generally accurate, but they are one-sided. The advantages of M.A. plans are emphasized, while the disadvantages are not mentioned.”