March 24, 2020
E&C Health Panel Advances Legislation To Strengthen Medicare Access
The House Energy & Commerce (E&C) health subcommittee this week unanimously approved the Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification Act (BENES), introduced by Rep. Raul Ruiz (CA-36), which would require HHS, the Social Security Administration and IRS to work together to notify those approaching Medicare eligibility age about enrollment rules. The bill would also help eliminate coverage gaps between a person’s initial enrollment period and the general enrollment period. The bill also removes the requirement to align Medicare Part B with other parts of Medicare enrollment and instead would require a study on how to best align enrollment to make it simpler for beneficiaries. Health subcommittee ranking Republican Michael Burgess (TX-26) and E&C ranking Republican Greg Walden (OR-2) have indicated they want to see Medicare Advantage plans and other private insurers represented in the bill before it is marked up by the full committee. A Senate companion (S. 1280) has also been introduced by Sens. Bob Casey (PA) and Todd Young (IN) but not yet taken up by committee.