NYC Organization Of Public Service Retirees Takes Fight Against Forced Medicare Advantage To Washington

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NYC Retirees, Medicare Advantage Patients and Families Join Members of Congress to Call for an End to Wrongful Delays and Denials In Care in Medicare Advantage Plans

Washington, D.C.—On Tuesday July 25th, 4:30 pm Eastern at the House Triangle, NYC Retirees met with Senator Elizabeth Warren, Representatives Rosa DeLauro, Lloyd Doggett, Barbara Lee, Ro Khanna, and Katie Porter, as well as Medicare Advantage enrollees, seniors, and advocates for a press conference. Speakers, including patients and families sharing their personal stories, will highlight the threat of wrongful delays and denials in privatized Medicare Advantage plans.

In attendance will be Connecticut resident Megan Bent, whose father, Gary Bent, died last year after a prolonged fight to receive necessary care under his private Medicare Advantage plan. She will be joined by New Hampshire resident Jenn Coffey, who will speak to the barriers she has faced receiving lifesaving care for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome caused by breast cancer, under her UnitedHealthcare Medicare Advantage plan.


Also attending will be almost 60 New York City Municipal Retirees, who are fighting to stop being placed onto a private Medicare Advantage plan by Aetna.  After every Court battle having been found in their favor, the Mayor still pushes forward to bulldoze retirees into a plan that is inferior to what they currently have, Federal Traditional Medicare and their Employer Group Supplemental plan. At an alarming rate nationwide, employers are dumping their retirees into Privatized Medicare leaving them with no ability to access Traditional Medicare again due to cost on the marketplace.   Supplemental plans are subject to underwriting and at this stage of life due to age or disability may not have access to a plan, or they are cost prohibitive.

“We’re outraged by stories of people who have been denied and delayed care and that’s one reason NYC Retirees are fighting against being forced into a Medicare Advantage Plan by Aetna. These plans are run by for-profit insurance companies who just want to get richer at the expense of our lives,” said Marianne Pizzitola, President of the NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees. 

“Medicare Advantage plans were designed to be a choice.  We were promised our entire lives, after decades of service to the City of NY, that we would have traditional Medicare with a supplemental plan from the City when we retired.  Not a managed care plan that is managed by the Mayor and our former unions who can alter the costs and the prior authorizations imposed when they want to at the expense of our lives.”

After the press conference, speakers and additional leaders and experts will be available to the press to discuss the issue and needed legislative and executive reforms to ensure patients get the care they need. As widespread problems with Medicare Advantage have recently come to light, there have been increased calls for congressional and executive branch action to reform the program. An industry that until recently enjoyed unquestioned bipartisan support is suddenly controversial.

In attendance:

Senator Elizabeth Warren

 

Rep. Lloyd Doggett

37th District of Texas

Rep. Ro Khanna


17th District of California

Rep. Mark Pocan

2nd District of Wisconsin

Rep. Katie Porter

47th District of California

Rep. Rosa DeLauro

3rd District of Connecticut

Rep. Barbara Lee

12th District of California

Megan Bent

Daughter of Gary Bent, who died after being denied care through his naviHealth (UnitedHealthcare) Medicare Advantage plan. Megan’s mother, Gloria, testified about their family’s ordeal in a recent Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI) hearing held by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT.)

 

Jen Coffey

Jenn is a member of Rights and Democracy and is working with People’s Action’s Care Over Cost campaign to fight back against United Healthcare’s wrongful claims denials in order to receive the care that she needs.

Over 100 members of the public from around the country including Medicare enrollees, members of Congress, and over 50 New York City public retirees. Signs–many handmade–reading “Medicare disAdvantage denials make us sick,” “Stop the deadly denials & delays,”


“When insurers deny care: They get rich. People die.” “MediCARE not MediCORP” “Medicare Advantage is For Profit Our Lives Should Not Be,” and others.

Washington DC Rally and Press Conference.  All Images Credit – Marianne Pizzitola


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Marianne Pizzitola NYC Organization of Public Service Retirees

On August 13th, 2021, a group of retirees from many different city agencies got together to form an organization to fight the impending changes to our healthcare. Two and half hours later, five people volunteered to form the Board and one became an advisor to the Board. In the next few weeks, we grew to five officers, four Trustees, five Advisors, started our Facebook group, filed for NYS incorporation, opened our PayPal fundraising account and were approved by the State to conduct business. Six weeks later we met our initial fundraising goal to pay the attorney's retainer and had filed our article 78 petition. Our Facebook page has over 18,000 members and we have an email list of almost 10,000 and both continue to grow. This is a major accomplishment! But we need to grow larger. We need to reach 250,000 retirees!

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