Washington, DC - Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, and Senator John Thune (R-SD), led a bipartisan group of senators in a letter urging the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to expand the Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design (MA VBID) model to help enhance access to evidence-based opioid treatments among older Americans and people with disabilities.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General, in 2017, one in three people with Medicare Part D received an opioid prescription. Almost 460,000 older adults and people with disabilities received opioids in ‘high amounts,’ putting an estimated 71,000 people with Medicare at risk for opioid misuse or overdose.
“The opioid epidemic is not bound by age,” wrote the Senators in the letter to CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “As you endeavor to use every tool available to ensure that not one more life is lost to opioids, we urge you to draw on value-based insurance design concepts that promote access to high-value, evidence-based health care.”
In 2017, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation launched the MA VBID model to improve access to health care services and prescription drugs among Medicare enrollees living with chronic conditions. The MA VBID model allows participating Medicare health plans to lower copayments and other cost-sharing and offer supplemental benefits for people with chronic conditions. Congress recently opted to expand these practices, taking the MA VBID model nationwide, through the bipartisan CHRONIC Care Act.
In addition to Casey and Thune, the following senators have signed on to the letter: Sens. Tom Carper, Chuck Grassley, John Cornyn and Debbie Stabenow.