A new bill introduced in the Senate aims at eliminating some of the wait time for an appeal to a denied Medicare claim.
An appeal to a denied Medicare claim now takes approximately 547 days, according to a McKnight's article titled "Bill would speed up Medicare claims appeal process. It was only 94 days in 2009.
The reason for this is that the government currently has a backlog of 900,000 Medicare claim appeals pending.
A bipartisan bill has been introduced to the full Senate and added to the legislative calendar. If it passes in its current form the bill would increase funding to handle appeals by a total of $127 million. The bill would also create a new Medicare magistrate program, which would allow magistrates to hear appeals for lower value claims.
The hope is that increased funding and the new magistrate program would allow for the backlog to be worked through more quickly and this would lower the wait time for currently pending and new Medicare claim appeals.
Although this is a bipartisan bill, it is important to note that passage is not guaranteed. It is always difficult to get Congress to increase spending, especially in a presidential election cycle.
If the Senate does pass the bill, it will still have to get through the House of Representatives.
Elders concerned about having their Medicare claim appeals processed in a timely fashion, might want to consider contacting their congressmen to urge support for this important elder law issue.
Reference: McKnight's (Dec. 10, 2015) "Bill would speed up Medicare claims appeal process"