On behalf of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP), our 57 member plans, and the 10 million Americans in Medicaid who we serve, I am writing to express our support for the “Strengthening Healthcare Options for Vulnerable Populations Act.”

Safety net health plans are primarily dedicated to serving low-income Americans that rely on Medicaid for health care services. As an extension of that mission, many of ACAP’s member plans have started Special Needs Plans to serve those Americans that are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Currently, 22 of our 57 plans operate SNPs through the Medicare Advantage program. In addition, many of our plans are or will be participating in the so-called “duals demonstrations” operating throughout the country.

Representing Arizona, you understand the importance of providing comprehensive care coordination for Americans with unique health care needs. The SNP program allows health plans to integrate benefits and coordinate care across the two programs to seek the best outcomes for dual eligibles. ACAP is strongly supportive of any efforts, including your legislation, to expand this model of health benefits delivery.

Specifically, the Strengthening Healthcare Options for Vulnerable Populations Act will create stability in the SNP program by providing long-term reauthorization for the program, thereby allowing states and health plans to begin to develop consistent strategies for addressing care for dual eligibles. We applaud your efforts to reform the STARS quality improvement program to ensure that it takes into account the unique care needs of beneficiaries served by D-SNPs. In addition, enhancing the role of the Medicare-Medicaid Coordinating Office will improve and enhance the visibility and viability of the SNPs among the general MA plan population within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Finally, we support requirements to provide consistent coverage to beneficiaries and examining and reporting on the implementation of Medicare and Medicaid fraud and integrity program provisions.

Thank you again for your leadership on this issue. We look forward to working with you on your legislation as you seek to improve the quality and coordination of care provided to all Medicare-Medicaid dual eligibles in America.

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