June 20, 2024– The Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act (H.R. 8702/ S. 4518) was reintroduced in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on June 12, 2024. This bipartisan legislation would allow seniors to get the care they need and help healthcare providers put patients over paperwork by streamlining prior authorization requirements under Medicare Advantage plans.

This bill aims to:

  • streamline approvals by establishing an electronic prior authorization standard
  • reduce the amount of time a health plan is allowed to consider a prior authorization request
  • require MA plans to report on their use of prior authorization and the rate of approvals and denials
  • encourage MA plans to adopt policies that adhere to evidence-based guidelines

The bill unanimously passed in the House in the 117th Congress last year and was cosponsored by a majority of members in the Senate and House of Representatives. U.S. Senators Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-KS), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), John Thune (R-SD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and U.S. Representatives Mike Kelly (R-PA), Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN) and Ami Bera, M.D. (D-CA) reintroduced the bill last week.

“Prior authorization is the number one administrative burden facing physicians today across all specialties, Senator Marshall (R-KS) said. “As a physician, I understand the frustration this arbitrary process is causing health care practices across the country and the headaches it creates for our nurses. With the bipartisan, bicameral, Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, we will streamline prior authorization and help improve patient outcomes and access to quality care and life-saving medicine. With the improvements we’ve made there is no reason we should not quickly get this bill signed into law.”

Healthcare providers across the nation look to this important legislation to:

  • Expedite Access To Care allows patients to receive timely access to desperately needed services.
  • Improve Patient Outcomes by reducing unnecessary burdens and increasing efficiencies, allowing healthcare providers to spend more time focusing on patient evaluation and treatment instead of administrative tasks
  • Ensure Accountability & Transparency by requiring Medicare Advantage plans to report to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on their use of prior authorization and the rate of approvals or denials. This would ensure accountability as well as accessibility.

Approximately 30.8 million, or 51% of all eligible beneficiaries are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.

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