Ways & Means Committee Approves Kelly Bill to Improve Medicare Advantage Transparency

Jun 2, 2015 Issues: Health Care

WASHINGTON — U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA) – a member of the House Ways and Means Committee – delivered the following remarks at today’s full committee mark-up hearing for H.R. 2505, the Medicare Advantage Coverage Transparency Act of 2015, which he introduced in the House of Representatives on May 21, 2015. The legislation will improve access to enrollment data in Medicare Advantage health plans by implementing an annual reporting requirement. The hearing featured the mark-up of ten health care-related bills.

“H.R. 2505, the Medicare Advantage Coverage Transparency Act, is a bill to make Medicare Advantage coverage more transparent for our seniors. With the passage of H.R. 2505, the [Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] will be required to provide additional information on Medicare Advantage enrollment based on zip code, congressional district, and state. … The purpose of this additional data is to provide greater information to the public, to policymakers, and to others in the health care community, so that they may have the benefit of more and better information when making these decisions.

“In 2014, the majority of the 54 million people on Medicare were in the traditional Medicare program, with 30 percent enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. Since 2004, the number of beneficiaries enrolled in private plans has tripled from 5.3 million to 15.7 million in 2014. In my home state of Pennsylvania, 18 percent of the total population of the commonwealth is enrolled in some sort of Medicare. Of that 18 percent, 39 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. That means that about 7 percent of Pennsylvanians are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.

“This legislation will give all of us, including me, the ability to know more information about how changes in Medicare Advantage plans in Washington will impact our constituents and our districts back home.”

Video of today’s full hearing can be viewed here.

NOTE: Rep. Kelly is a recipient of the 2015 Medicare Part D Patient Access Champion Award from the Alliance for Patient Access (AfPA) and the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP). The award is given to “commend leadership on behalf of Medicare Part D, in addition to a Member of Congress’ commitment to protecting the doctor/patient relationship and preserving the options and choices that are important to older Americans.” He has also been declared a 2015 Medicare Advantage Champion by the Coalition for Medicare Choices.