WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. John Thune (R-SD) and Mark Warner (D-VA), both members of the Senate Finance Committee, today introduced the Better Efficiency and Administrative Simplification Act, which would allow Medicare beneficiaries to receive important Medicare benefit notices electronically and improve the way the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) contracts with entities that help administer the Medicare program.
“Americans receive important electronic statements every day – whether it’s from their bank or cable provider or utility company – that makes keeping track of their personal finances easier and more secure,” said Thune. “This bill applies the same concept, giving seniors an option to better monitor their Medicare services and utilization by receiving their quarterly statements electronically, reducing the chance of Medicare fraud. Our bill also takes an important step toward improving CMS’ contracting process with individuals who help administer Medicare programs and services.”
“This bill will provide seniors with real-time information about their Medicare services and ensure that CMS has important tools at its disposal to improve customer service,” said Warner.
Thune and Warner’s bill expands on a successful demonstration program that showed when beneficiaries are able to receive their Medicare Summary Notices by email and in more useful intervals, they are able to catch fraudulent billing sooner. This allows them to notify officials earlier, reducing the amount of time bad actors are able to swindle Medicare.
The “Better Efficiency and Administrative Simplification Act” also gives CMS the ability to increase the length of contract years for Medicare Administrative Contractors (MAC). This will permit CMS to combat fraud and give them additional leverage over entities that play an important role in administering claims. A recent report by the Office of Inspector General on MAC performance recommended increasing the time between MAC contracting periods to give CMS more time to determine if MACs are effectively performing. This legislation would also give CMS additional flexibility in awarding new contracts when MACs are not meeting CMS requirements.
The bill was introduced in the House late last Congress as part of the Ways and Means Medicare Fraud package, and has been re-introduced this Congress by Reps. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) and Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.). It was part of a the Protecting the Integrity of Medicare Act of 2015 approved by the House Ways and Means Committee earlier today.