Better Medicare Alliance Endorses Bipartisan Senate Bill to Simplify Prior Authorization for Seniors
Legislation introduced by Sens. Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and co-sponsored by one-third of U.S. Senate would modernize prior authorization for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries
Washington, D.C. – Better Medicare Alliance, the nation’s leading research and advocacy organization supporting Medicare Advantage, announced its endorsement of S. 3018, Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act.
The bipartisan bill, sponsored by Sens. Roger Marshall (R-KS), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), and others would modernize the way Medicare Advantage uses prior authorization as a clinical tool to facilitate high-value and coordinated care for beneficiaries.
Better Medicare Alliance’s endorsement of the Senate bill follows its endorsement of companion legislation in the U.S. House earlier this year.
“Protecting the critical role of prior authorization in ensuring seniors receive safe, evidence-based care and working to improve this process for all involved are not mutually exclusive. This commonsense, bipartisan bill will take meaningful strides toward both goals,” said Mary Beth Donahue, President and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance. “With survey data showing that 9 in 10 health plans are already taking action to streamline the prior authorization process for patients and providers, the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act will support and build on those efforts while further strengthening the value of Medicare Advantage for the more than 28 million Americans who rely on its coverage and care. Better Medicare Alliance is proud to endorse this legislation and thanks Senators Marshall and Sinema for their leadership.”
“Medicare Advantage is working to meet the needs of diverse seniors and individuals with disabilities throughout our states. By modernizing the way Medicare Advantage plans and health care providers use prior authorization, we can enhance this coverage tool and make the delivery of health care more patient and doctor friendly,” said Sens. Roger Marshall M.D. (R-KS) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), lead sponsors of the bill. “We thank Better Medicare Alliance for their support and look forward to working alongside them to see this bill made law.”
“America’s Physician Groups is happy to join the Better Medicare Alliance in supporting the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act. Our more than 335 physician groups across the country know how important the Medicare Advantage (MA) program is to many of the roughly 90 million patients that our groups serve,” said Susan Dentzer, President and CEO of America’s Physician Groups. “Yet there is much more that should be done to automate and streamline processes such as prior authorization and reduce unnecessary delays and human error – not only for Medicare Advantage but also for the rest of the health care system. If enacted, the bill proposed by Senators Marshall, Sinema, Thune, and Brown could help make the MA program a national leader in enabling all patients to get appropriate and timely health care when they need it.”
“More than 152,000 Kansans have made the choice to enroll in Medicare Advantage – taking advantage of its supplemental benefits, lower costs and coordinated care. This bill will leverage 21st-century technology to ensure beneficiaries can access the care they need when they need it, including for mental health,” said Sherrie Vaughn, Executive Director of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Kansas. “NAMI Kansas is pleased to join our national organization in endorsing this bipartisan bill that supports the mental health needs of Medicare beneficiaries here in Kansas and around the country.”
“Medicare Advantage is working for more than 28 million seniors and individuals with disabilities nationwide, including more than 660,000 Arizonans. The Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act is a meaningful way that we can support Medicare Advantage plans, providers, and beneficiaries with tools to continue raising the bar in care delivery,” said John Skelton, Owner of Senior Helpers of Tempe, Arizona. “This bipartisan legislation will deliver a faster, simplified prior authorization process while protecting innovations in Medicare Advantage that are resulting in lower costs, better outcomes, and high satisfaction for millions of beneficiaries.”
Further Reading on Medicare Advantage’s Use of Prior Authorization to Deliver Quality, Affordable Care for Seniors:
- BMA endorsement of House companion bill, H.R. 3173 (May 2022)
- BMA blog post: “A Deeper Dive on Prior Authorization in Medicare Advantage” (May 2022)
- BMA Fact Sheet: “Prior Authorization in Medicare Advantage” (May 2022)