Sen. Ujifusa and Rep. Stewart introduce resolution to protect patients from ‘Medicare Advantage’ disadvantages


STATE HOUSE – Sen. Linda Ujifusa and Rep. Jennifer Stewart have introduced a resolution (2024-S 2402, 2024-H 7887) calling on the state’s federal delegation to address the growing concerns surrounding Medicare Advantage plans.

Established by the 1965 Social Security Amendments Act, Medicare provides health insurance coverage for individuals 65 and older and younger people with certain disabilities such as end stage renal disease. Original or “traditional” Medicare consists of Part A (hospital insurance) and Part B (medical insurance). 

Unfortunately, traditional Medicare lacked important coverage such as dental, vision, hearing and prescription drug coverage, as well as limits on copays and deductibles.  Instead of expanding original Medicare, Congress allowed private insurance companies to sell Medicare patients so-called supplemental, “Medigap” and “Medicare Advantage” insurance plans to fill in gaps, cover out-of-pocket costs, and even completely replace traditional Medicare. 

             “Most seniors who sign up for Medicare Advantage do not realize that private insurance companies now ‘manage’ their health care,” said Senator Ujifusa, (D-Dist. 11, Portsmouth, Bristol), “and these private companies can severely limit which doctors and hospitals they can use, prevent or delay them from getting medically necessary care, and often require more out-of-pocket costs when they become seriously ill, such as with cancer.”

Said Representative Stewart (D-Dist. 59, Pawtucket), “It is important to start educating the public about the disadvantages of so-called “Medicare Advantage” plans, because their aggressive marketing tactics do not disclose sufficient information.” 

Senator Ujifusa added that Medicare Advantage was supposed to save money and provide good health care, but studies have shown that neither of these goals have been met. The estimated amount overpaid to Medicare Advantage companies is as much as $140 billion annually — more than the amount needed to address important traditional Medicare gaps. In addition, Medicare Advantage plans have been found to use prior authorization to deny medically necessary care.

More than half of those eligible for traditional Medicare now have Medicare Advantage plans. 

“States cannot regulate Medicare Advantage plans,” said Senator Ujifusa. “That’s why it’s crucial to pass this resolution urging our federal legislators and agencies to act now.”


The Supreme Court is getting rid of a Trump-era ban on "bump stocks." The court ruled Friday that the firearm accessory that allows semi-automatic rifles to fire more quickly can't be included in a 1934 law banning machine guns. The decision was 6-3 on ideological lines, striking down a regulation imposed during the Trump administration. Despite the ruling, bump stocks remain illegal in 18 states.       The Supreme Court is not yet ruling on Donald Trump's claims of presidential immunity. The court did not make a decision on the consequential case today, but may do so on June 20th when its next opinions are released. The case impacts some of Trump's pending cases, including his alleged attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election. Trump argues he is immune from prosecution because his actions fell under official conduct that should be protected, and was not a private act.       Floridians can expect even more rain today after days of severe weather and flooding. Non-stop rain has drenched parts of the southern half of the state for days now -- including Miami. Governor Ron DeSantis already declared a state of emergency. Thunderstorm activity in the region is expected to subside by the weekend, but forecasters say flash flooding and urban flooding will remain possible through Saturday.       Kate, Princess of Wales, says she is making "good progress" in her treatment for cancer. In a rare statement Friday, the British royal said she is still undergoing chemotherapy and that she has "a few more months" of treatment remaining. She also announced that she will be attending a military parade Saturday to mark King Charles the Third's birthday. This will be her first official public appearance since she revealed she has cancer.       Ukraine is rejecting Russia's demands to bring the war between the two countries to an end. On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country would end the war if Ukraine agreed to certain conditions. Those include Kyiv [[ KEEV ]] dropping its ambitions to join NATO, pulling out troops from four Ukrainian provinces claimed by Moscow. The proposal from Russia came just a day after the U.S. and Ukraine agreed to a new ten-year security agreement.       The USA cricket team is continuing to make history. The team has advanced to the next stage of the men's T20 Cricket World Cup after its match against Ireland was rained out in Florida Friday. The point earned by the USA due to the game being called off meant the team qualified for the Super Eight stage of the tournament. The USA will now be placed in a group of four of the final eight teams, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the semifinal round.