Brown calls for no delay in Medicare Advantage plans

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Wants streamlined authorization process implemented

 WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, on Thursday led colleagues in the House and Senate in calling on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to quickly finalize a set of proposed rules that would ensure timely access to care by modernizing and streamlining prior authorization processes in the Medicare Advantage program.

In letters signed by 61 senators and 233 members of the House, the lawmakers also call on Medicare officials to enhance the proposals to include real-time electronic decision-making for routinely approved services, require faster responses on emergency procedures from 72 to 24 hours, and include greater transparency requirements. 

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This would bring the rules more in line with the lawmakers’ Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act.

 “We urge CMS to promptly finalize and implement these changes to increase transparency and improve the prior authorization process for patients, providers, and health plans,” wrote the lawmakers. “We are pleased that these proposed rules align with the bipartisan, bicameral Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, which proposes a balanced approach to prior authorization in the [Medicare Advantage] program that would remove barriers to patients’ timely access to care and allow providers to spend more time treating patients and less time on paperwork.”

In October 2021, Brown led a bipartisan group of senators in requesting an update on the CMS efforts to streamline prior authorization protocols across programs, including MA plans. The senators commended the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to ensuring timely access to health care and are encouraging the administration to take additional steps to strengthen prior authorization policies and make them more efficient for all Americans, including MA beneficiaries.