Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., today introduced a measure that would prohibit Medicare Advantage plans from charging beneficiaries more than traditional Medicare fee-for-service plans charge for any service.
The bill, the Medicare Advantage Truth in Advertising Act, does not yet have a bill number.
Stark is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee health subcommittee.
Stark’s bill would continue to permit Medicare Advantage plans to use flat co-payments, but the co-payment charges could never exceed traditional Medicare charges, Stark says.
Stark held a hearing last week on problems at the relatively new Medicare Advantage private fee-for-service plans, but the new bill would apply to all Medicare Advantage plans, including private health maintenance organization plans and private preferred provider organization plans that serve Medicare beneficiaries.
“Medicare Advantage plans don’t live up to their name,” Stark said. “Though seniors and people with disabilities wouldn’t know it from the never-ending stream of insurance propaganda, Medicare Advantage plans charge more than traditional Medicare for a large number of services – everything from home health care to hospital stays and chemotherapy drugs to durable medical equipment.”