Bill to speed Medicare appeals

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and ranking member Ron Wyden (D-OR) formally introduced to the full Senate a bill that would provide more resources and funding to ease a glutted Medicare claims appeal process.

The Audit & Appeals Fairness, Integrity, and Reforms in Medicare Act of 2015 received Finance Committee approval in June but only more recently was added to the full Senate's legislative calendar.

The measure would provide $125 million to the Office of Medicare Hearing and Appeals and $2 million to the Departmental Appeals Board of the Department of Health and Human Services for fiscal 2016, and following years. 

The bill also would create a magistrate program, which would review claims from $150 to $1,500. Administrative law judges would handle bigger claims.