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Gus Bilirakis Introduces Medicare Advantage Reform Proposal

Last week, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., introduced the “Addressing Whole Health in Medicare Advantage Act.

This proposal “authorizes Medicare Advantage programs to offer additional supplemental benefits to address a variety of risks factors that impact seniors’ health” since “there is growing recognition that improving health outcomes is intrinsically linked to the socioeconomic and other societal factors that influence overall health and wellness,” such as “education, physical environment, nutrition and food access, employment status, and access to support networks.”

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer D-Oreg., is co-sponsoring the proposal.

“Under current law, Medicare Advantage plans are permitted to offer a wide array of supplemental benefits to chronically ill enrollees. These expanded benefits are required to have a reasonable expectation of improving or maintaining patient health. The new Bilirakis-Blumenauer bill allows Medicare Advantage plans the same flexibility to provide targeted supplemental benefits to low-income patients and other beneficiaries who are at high risk for developing chronic conditions or experiencing poorer health outcomes due to these related factors,” Bilirakis’ office noted.

“This commonsense legislation employs the basic principles of value-based health care. We must look at the big picture. It is impossible to improve the population health of communities without addressing the factors that contribute to poor health outcomes. Prevention, education, and access are essential components of effective health care programs such as Medicare. Allowing Medicare Advantage programs to tailor supplemental benefits based upon these factors can both help save money in the long run and more importantly improve patient outcomes for high-risk seniors. This is not just a pragmatic approach, it is the right thing to do as we work to ensure all seniors receive the best possible care,” said Bilirakis.

“Supplemental benefits are a key component of the Medicare Advantage program,” said Blumenauer. “We know that the health of a patient is affected by not just the medical system but access to things like transportation, healthy food, and clean air. Expanding who can receive these services is a commonsense solution to invest in whole health.”

The Better Medicare Alliance is backing the proposal.

The bill was sent to the U.S. House Ways and Means and the Energy and Commerce Committees. So far, there is no companion measure over in the U.S. Senate.

Author

  • Kevin Derby

    Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Tina Storey

    October 8, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    This is a good idea except for the fact that once someone has been accepted an advantage program here, their current doctor and many doctors don’t accept the plans. There are few who do. Most Medicare patients then have to switch from doctors that they have been seeing for years to mediocre doctors. Or have to travel long distances to see a quality doctor, especially if they have chronic conditions.

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