Legislation Introduced to Increase Transparency of Medicare Advantage Benefits for Seniors

Medicare Advantage, older woman doing research, writing and looking on iPad

U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), members of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced legislation to require Medicare Advantage plans to publicly report the supplemental benefits they offer and the extent to which beneficiaries use them, making sure that the program is using Medicare-funded benefits to better serve seniors. Specifically, the legislation would require Medicare Advantage plans report enrollee-level data on supplemental benefits to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), as well as report eligibility for benefits, the types of benefit categories offered, and data on utilization of and payments for such benefits.

“As more and more seniors turn to Medicare Advantage for their health coverage, it’s important that we properly evaluate the effectiveness of the program,” said Sen. Warner. “That’s why I introduced legislation to make Medicare Advantage data more readily available so that we can better evaluate plans in order to give seniors the best coverage for their needs and to ensure the sustainability of the Medicare program as a whole.”

In recent years, the use of Medicare Advantage has skyrocketed, with 55 percent of all California Medicare beneficiaries and 51 percent of eligible beneficiaries nationwide choosing to enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan. However, there is currently no statutory requirement to specifically report on supplemental benefits, making data on available benefits and their utilization unreliable. Sen. Warner’s legislation would ensure this data is available in order to understand beneficiary use of supplemental benefits and their impact on the sustainability of the Medicare program.

This legislation builds on efforts to expand and protect healthcare access for Medicare beneficiaries, including through legislation like the Preserving Patient Access to Home Infusion Act and CHRONIC Care Act.

Full text of the bill is available here.

California Health Advocates fully endorses this legislation.

This article is edited from Senator Mark Warner’s office’s press release, January 10, 2024.

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.