Bennet, Portman Introduce Bill to Help Seniors with Chronic Medical Conditions, Reduce Medicare Costs

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rob Portman (R-OH) this week introduced a bill to help seniors facing large medical bills due to chronic medical conditions. The Medicare PLUS Act would set up a pilot program to help the top 15 percent of the highest-cost Medicare beneficiaries coordinate their health care needs and ensure they are receiving care in a timely manner.

"Seniors in Colorado and across the country with chronic medical conditions often require care from a number of doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies, that can generate large medical bills," Bennet said. "Our bill would help these seniors coordinate their care to ensure they are making it to appointments, getting the medications they need, and receiving assistance for their other needs. This type of coordinated care network will help drive down costs for patients and the Medicare program."

"This is a commonsense idea that will ensure the most vulnerable patients have access to quality care while reducing costs for beneficiaries, their families, and the Medicare program overall," said Portman.

Analyses of Medicare costs show that 15 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have six or more chronic conditions, and they account for 50 percent of total Medicare spending. The Bennet-Portman bill would automatically enroll the top 15 percent of the highest-cost Medicare beneficiaries in either a high-performing Accountable Care Organization or a Medicare Advantage plan that would work with their doctors and hospitals to coordinate all of their services and medications.

The bill would leave intact guaranteed benefits through Medicare and provide additional benefits not currently covered under Medicare when necessary, including in-home personal care, transportation to and from medical appointments, and meal services. The bill would also assign a case worker to help coordinate these services.