DUALS Act of 2024 Would Dramatically Expand Access to PACE [Press Release]

This article was originally posted on NPA Online. Read the full article here.

WASHINGTON, DC – MARCH 15, 2024 – Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Tom Carper (D-DE), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mark Warner (D-VA), Tim Scott (R-SC), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) have introduced the Delivering United Access to Lifesaving Services (DUALS) Act of 2024. The legislation would dramatically increase access to the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).

The National PACE Association (NPA) strongly supports the bill and has worked diligently with its sponsors to ensure that the PACE model of care can be accessed more easily by the millions of Americans who would benefit from it.

“We applaud your visionary leadership seeking to increase care integration for individuals covered by both Medicare and Medicaid, which will improve both their health status and quality of life,” NPA president and CEO Shawn Bloom said in a letter to the sponsors. “NPA commends you for embracing the critical role PACE will have in achieving those aims for older adults and people living with disabilities.”

Designed to ease frustrations in seeking care through Medicare and Medicaid for individuals who have insurance coverage through both programs, known as “dual eligibles,” the bill has several provisions to make PACE more widely available. Enrollees in PACE, who would be appropriate for a nursing home level of care, instead live in their own homes and are cared for through a multidisciplinary team of health care providers.

PACE is viewed by several non-partisan think tanks and leading aging experts as a model that would help solve the elder care crisis currently facing the United States.

The bill would expand access to PACE in several key ways:

  • require all states to offer PACE to eligible individuals;
    permit PACE organizations to enroll participants any time rather than just on the first of the month;
  • extend eligibility for PACE to Medicare-eligible individuals under age 55;
  • remove quarterly restrictions for the submission of applications for new PACE organizations and service area expansions; and
  • ensure that Medicare-only PACE program enrollees have a choice of prescription drug plans under Medicare part D.