Bipartisan bill will streamline prior authorization, strengthen Medicare Advantage

By John Skelton

John Skelton
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As more and more seniors continue to move to the Grand Canyon state, it has never been more pressing to increase access to affordable, high-quality health care for Arizona seniors and those living with disabilities.

That is why Medicare Advantage plays such a critical role in our health care system; through it, tens of millions of seniors nationwide are able to access vital preventative and wellness services that help them lower their costs, improve their health care outcomes, and live fuller, more active lives.

The more than 660,000 Arizona seniors and persons with disabilities that rely on Medicare Advantage should be glad to hear that Congress is considering bipartisan legislation that would modernize the program—specifically, the way in which it uses prior authorization to coordinate beneficiaries’ care. As someone who works in senior-focused health care, I’m particularly grateful to Senator Kyrsten Sinema for her leadership as one of the lead authors of this bill that will make Medicare Advantage even stronger and more responsive to the needs of the patients it serves.

Arizona seniors can rest easy knowing they have a champion like Senator Sinema to fight for them.

Once passed, the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act will streamline prior authorization for patients and providers alike.

This legislation builds on the work that those of us in the Medicare Advantage community have been putting in to make the program as efficient and effective as possible. Already, Medicare Advantage saves patients nearly $2,000 in out-of-pocket costs and premiums when compared to traditional, Fee-For-Service (FFS) Medicare. This bill will simply raise the bar one notch higher when it comes to access, affordability, and quality of coverage as well as care.

Notably, the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act will leverage the latest technological advances—including electronic prior authorization tools—to modernize and streamline the entire prior authorization process, saving beneficiaries and providers both valuable time and money. For the health care community and the communities we serve, these changes will make a world of difference, helping ensure we are connecting patients to the right treatments and services in a timely, efficient manner.

Thanks in large part to Senator Sinema and other Medicare Advantage champions in Congress, the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act now has been co-sponsored by more than a third of the U.S. Senate.

In order to ensure the Medicare Advantage program remains as strong, effective, and wildly popular as it is today, I urge Senator Sinema’s colleagues in both chambers—and on both sides of the aisle—to vote a resounding “yes” on this much-needed legislation.

John Skelton is a former Arizona Cardinals quarterback and the owner of Senior Helpers of Tempe.

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