Sinema Introduces Bipartisan Legislation Improving Timeliness of Senior Healthcare Through Medicare Advantage

Sinema Introduces Bipartisan Legislation Improving Timeliness of Senior Healthcare Through Medicare Advantage

Grayson Bakich
Grayson Bakich
June 13, 2024

A new bipartisan bill introduced by Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) could streamline and standardize the prior authorization process for Medicare Advantage, improving the timeliness of healthcare access for seniors.

Prior authorization is a system designed to cut costs when prescribing new medications or treatments. It requires approval from insurance companies before medical providers issue them. However, this system can often be slow and inefficient, delaying or denying crucial healthcare for seniors.

As a result, Sen. Sinema's bill, the Improving Seniors' Timely Access to Care Act, expands and improves upon electronic prior authorization systems with standardization of transactions and clinical attachments, improving Medicare Advantage transparency about prior authorization and expansion of beneficiary protections.

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Other measures include outlining the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid's (CMS) authority in expediting determinations and "real-time decisions for routinely approved items and services."

In her press release, Sen. Sinema emphasized the bill's key benefits, saying, "We're improving the authorization process so Arizona seniors with Medicare Advantage plans can receive timely and quality care while lowering the costs and avoiding poorer clinical outcomes related to delayed care. Our bipartisan bill also allows doctors and health care providers to spend less time dealing with red tape and more time with their patients."

Announcing the bill on X (formerly Twitter), Sinema added, "Seniors' care shouldn't be delayed, and doctors want to spend more time with patients than paperwork. We're modernizing Medicare Advantage's prior authorization process so Arizona seniors can receive timely and quality care."

The bill, known as the Improving Seniors' Timely Access to Care Act, is a testament to bipartisan collaboration, with Senators Roger Marshall (R-KS), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and John Thune (R-SD) joining Sen. Sinema as sponsors. This marks Sinema's second major bipartisan healthcare-related bill introduced in her last year of office, demonstrating her commitment to improving healthcare access for all.

At the beginning of April, the Arizona Senator introduced a bill focusing on student mental healthcare, expanding upon the 2022 Safer Communities Act as a blueprint to provide greater funds to schools so they can hire and retain mental health professionals such as guidance counselors, social workers, and psychologists that can adequately address the needs of students.

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Grayson Bakich

Grayson Bakich

Florida born and raised, Grayson Bakich is a recent recipient of a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Central Florida. His thesis examined recent trends in political polarization and how this leads into justification of violence.

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