This bill would expand the comment period on the annual evaluation of payment rates under Medicare Advantage.
Medicare Advantage plans are health plans offered by private companies that contract with Medicare to provide Part A and Part B benefits. These plans usually offer prescription drug coverage, and most Medicare services are covered through these plans and aren’t paid for under Original Medicare.
Expanding the comment period would begin before the 2017 payment rates for Medicare Advantage are evaluated and determined. Before April 1 of the preceding year (so for 2017 — that’s April, 2016), the Secretary of Health and Human Services have to announce the annual Medicare Advantage rates by region, the factors used to determine those rates, and region-specific benchmarks.
Before announcing those rates, the public comment period would be expanded to 60 days. Under current law the public only has 45 days.