In Elder Law News

Supportive female medical professional talking male senior patient through paperwork.If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you — along with roughly 28 million others who rely on this type of coverage — may soon have an easier time obtaining necessary medical care.

Currently, patients with Medicare Advantage plans often must seek prior authorization for many medical services. They, and their physicians, can face a laborious series of steps in getting approved, which can result in a delay in critical care, or worse yet, denial of care. In fact, in a 2021 survey, the American Medical Association found that more than 90 percent of physician respondents reported that prior authorization processes always, often, or sometimes delayed being able to secure necessary care for their patients.

Through legislation known as the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, officials are seeking to modernize the approval process. In addition to requiring Medicare Advantage plans to create electronic prior authorization processes, the bill also underlines the need to reduce time-consuming paperwork for routine medical procedures as well as requiring these plans to be more transparent in their reporting — not only about the rate at which they approve and deny care, but also their average response times.

This September, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation unanimously. The bill, which has bipartisan support in the Senate, could go to a vote by the end of 2022.

Learn more about what to look for when choosing a Medicare Advantage plan.

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