Given the findings presented above, the committee recommends a transition period of 2 years from the time that legislation is implemented during which the federal government would continue the current option of permitting monthly changes of enrollment by Medicare beneficiaries. After this transition period, enrollees should be locked into the plan that they have selected for 1 year, with the following exceptions. All enrollees will have 90 days from the time of enrollment in a health plan to disenroll and enroll in traditional Medicare, and newly entitled beneficiaries and beneficiaries who have never before chosen a health plan (i.e., those who have been enrolled in the traditional Medicare program) should have the prerogative of changing plans or rejoining the traditional Medicare program within 90 days. Beneficiaries should be allowed to return to their previous Medigap policy with no additional premium costs and with no restrictions placed on preexisting conditions if they disenroll from a health plan within 90 days and return to the traditional Medicare program.
The committee would like to see the federal government encourage plans to offer adequate out-of-area coverage for their enrollees who reside out of the plan's service area for more than 3 months. This can be achieved through interplan reciprocity or point-of-service options.
The current Medicare appeals process has been shown to be slow and not adequately advertised by HCFA or health plans. Furthermore, the current appeals process is tailored more to reviewing whether a service should be reimbursed by Medicare or a health plan and less on the important issue of whether a needed service was denied.
In a competitive environment, to attain better risk selection, health plans have the incentive to encourage healthier people to enroll in the plan and to discourage from enrollment those who