Tag Archives: Medicare Advantage

House Passes Bills to Repeal ACA Medical Device Tax and IPAB, Revise Medicare Advantage Policy

The House of Representatives has taken action on a number of bills to modify certain Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions, revise Medicare Advantage policies, and make other health policy changes. On June 23, 2015, the House voted to approve H.R. 1190, a bill to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), by a vote of 244 to … Continue Reading

Ways and Means Committee Approves Health Policy Bills, Including Repeal of ACA Medical Device Tax & IPAB, and Medicare Advantage/LTCH Policy Changes

On June 2, 2015, the House Ways and Means Committee approved ten health policy bills, including legislation to repeal the ACA’s medical device tax and the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB). Other measures would make a series of changes to Medicare Advantage (MA) requirements and Medicare long-term care hospital (LTCH) policy. Specifically, the Committee approved the … Continue Reading

CMS Guidance on Beneficiary MA Drug Plan Disenrollments by Long Term Care Facilities

CMS has released guidance for long term care (LTC) facilities, including nursing facilities and skilled nursing facilities, on beneficiary disenrollments. According to the guidance, “CMS continues to see an unacceptable practice of LTC facilities disenrolling beneficiaries from Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans (MAPDs) and enrolling them into stand-alone drug plans (PDPs) without the beneficiary’s or … Continue Reading

CMS Releases 2016 Medicare Advantage/Part D Drug Plan Rates and Policies

CMS has released the 2016 Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D Rate Announcement and Call Letter.  According to a CMS fact sheet, the final policies increase Medicare Advantage rates by 1.25% (compared to an earlier forecast of a 0.95% reduction), although considering coding trends the agency expects revenues to increase by 3.25%. In addition, CMS … Continue Reading

Final Medicare Advantage/Part D Rule for Contract Year (CY) 2016

CMS has published a final rule revising Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D prescription drug benefit regulations for CY 2016. Among other things, the final rule: Implements a statutory provision requiring MA and Part D contracts to provide the right to “timely”’ inspection and audit and allowing CMS to require MA organizations or Part D … Continue Reading

GAO Highlights Medicare Program Risks and Recommends Program Integrity Actions

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released its latest update to its “High-Risk Series” reports, which again lists Medicare as a high-risk program, in part because of the program’s substantial size and scope, and its wide-ranging effects on beneficiaries, the health care industry, and the U.S. economy. The latest report highlights five areas of particular … Continue Reading

MedPAC Meeting on Medicare Policies (Jan. 15-16)

On January 15-16, 2015, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) is meeting to discuss a number of Medicare topics, including, among others: post-acute care trends; payment updates for a number of provider types; relative costs of Medicare Advantage, accountable care organizations, and fee-for-service Medicare; hospital short stay policy; and quality measurement. … Continue Reading

CMS Releases Medicare Advantage/Drug Plan Quality Data, Enforcement Statistics

CMS has posted the 2015 Medicare Star Ratings for Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (PDPs). According to a CMS fact sheet, there are increases in the number of Medicare beneficiaries in high-performing MA plans and PDPs for 2015, while CMS notes “dramatic improvement” among plans that had received the low … Continue Reading

CMS Seeks Input on Potential Delivery Innovations in Medicare Part D, Medicare Advantage, & Other Programs

CMS is seeking input on initiatives to test care delivery innovations in the Medicare Part D program, Medicare and Medicaid managed care plans, and other government programs. CMS notes that while “[h]ealth plans increasingly have responded to market developments and fiscal pressures with innovations in care delivery, plan design, beneficiary and provider incentives, and network … Continue Reading

July Congressional Health Policy Hearings

Congressional panels have held numerous hearings on health policy issues this month, including the following: The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a series of hearings on its “21st Century Cures” initiative, focusing on personalized medicine, barriers to evidence development and communication, technological innovations, the patient perspective, and modernizing clinical trials. A separate hearing focused on … Continue Reading

MedPAC Issues Medicare Delivery Reform Recommendations

On June 13, 2014, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) released its June 2014 Report to the Congress on Medicare and the Health Care Delivery System. Among other things, MedPAC addresses ways to align Medicare fee-for-service (FFS), Medicare Advantage, and accountable care organization policies on payment, risk adjustment, and quality measurement. MedPAC also discusses various … Continue Reading

CMS Finalizes Updates to Medicare Advantage/Part D Policies for 2015

On May 23, 2014, CMS published a final rule revising the Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D prescription drug program regulations to implement various statutory requirements, strengthen beneficiary protections, improve program efficiencies and payment accuracy; and clarify program requirements, generally effective for contract year 2015. CMS estimates that the proposed rule would reduce Medicare spending by … Continue Reading

OIG Urges CMS to Recoup Payments to Medicare Advantage Plans for Unlawfully-Present Beneficiaries

According to a recent OIG report, CMS made $26.2 million in payments to Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations for approximately 1,600 unlawfully present beneficiaries from 2010 through 2012, even though federal health care benefits are not allowable for individuals who are not lawfully present in the United States. The OIG attributes to inappropriate payments to CMS’s … Continue Reading

CMS Announces Final 2015 Medicare Advantage/Part D Drug Plan Rates and Policies

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its 2015 rate announcement and final call letter for Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D prescription drug plans. Notably, the final rate announcement increases 2015 MA rates by 0.4% compared to 2014 levels and compared to an estimated 1.9% reduction anticipated in the advance notice … Continue Reading

HHS OIG Identifies “Top 25″ Priorities

The OIG has released its “Compendium of Priority Recommendations,” which lists 25 priority issues for which the OIG has open recommendation and that, if implemented, would best protect the integrity of HHS programs. The 25 top priorities are as follows: Medicare Policies and Payments: address wasteful Medicare policies and payment rates for clinical laboratories, hospitals, and … Continue Reading

MedPAC Issues 2014 Report to Congress on Medicare Payment Policy

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has released its annual report to Congress on Medicare payment policy, including payment update recommendations for all the major Medicare fee-for-service payment (FFS) systems, limited recommendations related to the Medicare Advantage (MA) program, and a status report on the Medicare Part D program. The following are highlights of the … Continue Reading

March Congressional Health Policy Hearings

Congressional panels continue to hold hearings to address various health policy issues, including the following: The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a hearing on “Allowing Seniors to Keep Their Medicare Advantage Plans If They Like Them." In addition, on March 26, the panel is holding a hearing entitled “Where Have All the Patients Gone? … Continue Reading

CMS Rule Increases FY 2014 Medicare Payments for Low-Volume Hospitals

On March 18, 2014, CMS published an interim final rule with comment period that implements changes to the payment adjustment for low-volume hospitals and to the Medicare-dependent hospital (MDH) program for fiscal year 2014 in accordance with the Pathway for SGR Reform Act of 2013. The rule, which applies to discharges on October 1, 2013 through … Continue Reading

MedPAC Meeting to Address Various Medicare Payment Policies (March 6-7)

On March 6-7, 2014, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) is meeting to discuss a number of Medicare payment and policy issues, including: site-neutral payments for select conditions treated in inpatient rehabilitation facilities and skilled nursing facilities; developing payment policies to promote the use of services based on clinical evidence; measuring quality in Medicare delivery … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes 2015 Payment, Policy Updates for Medicare Advantage and Drug Plans

CMS has posted its advance rate announcement and draft call letter for Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D prescription drug plans for 2015. These documents detail updates to payment methodologies, other policies, and program operations for MA organizations and Part D drug plan sponsors. While the factors that impact 2015 rates are complex, CMS generally … Continue Reading

Congressional Health Policy Hearings

Recent Congressional hearings have addressed a number of health policy issues, including the following: House Science, Space, and Technology Committee hearing entitled “Healthcare.gov: Consequences of Stolen Identity”; A House Energy and Commerce Oversight Subcommittee hearing on implementation of the ACA, including a discussion of insurance exchange issues; Two House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes Updates to Medicare Advantage/Part D Policies for 2015

On January 6, 2014, CMS released a proposed rule that would revise the Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D prescription drug program regulations to implement various statutory requirements, strengthen beneficiary protections, improve program efficiencies and payment accuracy; and clarify program requirements. CMS estimates that the proposed rule would reduce Medicare spending by $1.3 billion between 2015 … Continue Reading

Congressional Hearings Examine ACA Insurance Developments and Other Health Policies

Recent Congressional hearings on health policy issues have included the following, among others: A House Small Business Committee hearing focused on the ACA’s Small Business Health Options Program. A House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing reviewed “the Challenges of the Affordable Care Act,” focusing on “immediate and long-term challenges Americans face in finding affordable, quality health coverage … Continue Reading
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