Prior to the passage of the PPACA, beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan could switch plans or return to traditional Medicare for 90 days after the beginning of the calendar year. Known as the open-enrollment period, Congress created this flexible option so that beneficiaries could “test drive” their plans and not be locked into a coverage plan if it didn’t suit their needs. PPACA significantly reduces Medicare beneficiary choices in this regard. Due to the health reform law, beneficiaries enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan who wish to make a plan change only have one option-disenrolling from their Medicare Advantage plan to enroll in traditional Medicare. Other selections are no longer available to consumers. This can cause beneficiaries to pay more in medical expenses to the hospitals, medical facilities, physicians and for certain medical diagnostic tests. Congress should take action to preserve Medicare flexibility for seniors and restore the prior open-enrollment period for Medicare beneficiaries.
NAHU’s quarterly update on the latest Medicare News.