Congressmen Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Keith Rothfus (R-PA) today introduced H.R. 2453, the Medicare Beneficiary Preservation of Choice Act of 2013. This bipartisan legislation restores the open enrollment period that, until 2011, enabled seniors to switch Medicare Advantage plans once during the first three months of each year.
"Before 2011, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries were allowed a ninety-day open enrollment period to make changes to their health insurance plans as they saw fit. That flexibility has since been eliminated and now seniors are limited to staying on their current plan or disenrolling from Medicare Advantage altogether in favor of traditional Medicare," said Rep. Schrader. "As representative of a state with the second highest enrollment in Medicare Advantage, I have seen the successes that stem from allowing our seniors greater access to health insurance plans that fit their specific needs. This legislation would restore the open enrollment period, change the way we deliver Medicare Advantage to our beneficiaries and grant our seniors nationwide greater access in choosing a health insurance plan that best fits their situation."
"Medicare Advantage has a proven record of success and is popular with seniors because it provides better services, a higher quality of care, and increased care coordination," said Rep. Rothfus. "The Medicare Beneficiary Preservation of Choice Act restores the open enrollment period and empowers seniors to choose the health care plan that best meets their needs. I thank Congressman Schrader for joining me in advocating for our seniors, and I encourage all of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this common-sense and bipartisan legislation."
The Medicare Advantage program has a proven track record of success. With more than thirteen million seniors enrolled in the program nationwide, Medicare Advantage plans have earned the reputation for providing better services, higher quality of care and increased care coordination among providers. Every year, seniors report high levels of satisfaction with their plans.
Until 2011, seniors were able to switch Medicare Advantage plans between January 1 and March 31. This ninety day period enabled seniors to try out a selected plan to ensure that it would meet their health care needs or to correct a plan choice mistake.
Unfortunately, those ninety days have been replaced with an annual Medicare Advantage disenrollment period during the first forty-five days of the year. This forty-five day period no longer permits seniors to switch Medicare Advantage plans. Instead, it requires them to either stay in their current plan or switch back to traditional Medicare.
Given Medicare Advantage's popularity and history of success, Reps. Schrader and Rothfus believe seniors should be given the opportunity to change to any plan that best addresses their needs. The Medicare Beneficiary Preservation of Choice Act would reinstate the open enrollment period and enable seniors to make one plan switch during the first three months of the year.