Tag Archives: Medicare Part D Drugs

House Clears Prescription Drug Price Transparency, Health Workforce Legislation

The House of Representatives has approved — without objection — a series of bills intended to promote prescription drug pricing transparency and invest in the health care workforce. With regard to drug pricing transparency, the House approved HR 2115, the Public Disclosure of Drug Discounts Act, as amended to include HR 3415, the Real-Time Beneficiary … Continue Reading

Three House Panels Approve HR 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act

Three House committees have approved drug pricing legislation that is a high priority of the House Democratic leadership.  Specifically, HR 3, the Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019, has been approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee, the Ways and Means Committee, and the Education and Labor Committee.  While the details of the committee-approved … Continue Reading

HHS Scraps Pending Rule to Remove Anti-Kickback Safe Harbor Protection for Drug Rebates to Health Plans, PBMs

The Trump Administration has decided against finalizing a controversial proposed Office of Inspector General (OIG) regulation that would have modified Federal Anti-Kickback Statute safe harbor protection for certain prescription drug rebates to health plans and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).  As we previously reported, the proposed rule would have (i) removed safe harbor protection for drug … Continue Reading

Trump Administrations’ Proposed FY 2020 Budget Targets Prescription Drug Prices

Reducing prescription drug prices is a major theme in the Trump Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget proposal, with policies intended to increase competition, encourage better negotiation, incentivize lower list prices, and cut out-of-pocket costs for beneficiaries.  The Administration’s projected savings from its designated prescription drug budget proposals top $69 billion over 10 years, although … Continue Reading

CMS Educational Event on New Part D Opioid Overutilization Policies

On February 14, 2019, CMS is hosting an educational call on new opioid policies for Medicare drug plans.  The call will focus on improved safety alerts when opioid prescriptions are dispensed at the pharmacy, and drug management programs for individuals at-risk for misusing or abusing “frequently abused drugs” (opioids and benzodiazepines).  The target audience for … Continue Reading

President Trump Signs Bipartisan Opioid Legislation into Law; Includes Open Payments Reporting Expansion

President Trump has just signed into law HR 6, the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act.  The bipartisan legislation includes almost 200 provisions intended to strengthen opioid prevention and treatment efforts and bolster law enforcement tools. Among many other things, the new law:  Seeks to encourage … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Releases Drug Pricing “Blueprint” and Request for Comments on Reducing Drug Costs

The Trump Administration has launched a high-profile initiative aimed at reducing prescription drug prices, including release of a blueprint containing a series of short- and long-term policy proposals and a request for public comments on additional reforms. First, on May 11, 2018 the Department of Health and Human Services released its “Blueprint to Lower Drug … Continue Reading

2019 Medicare Advantage/Part D Policies Finalized, Including Comprehensive Addition and Recovery Act Drug Management Requirements

CMS has announced final Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D plan policies and rates for 2019. The final 2019 rule, published on April 16, 2018, implements a Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) provision that allows Part D plan sponsors to establish drug management programs. Under this policy, plan sponsors may limit at-risk beneficiaries’ access … Continue Reading

MedPAC Calls for Medicare Post-Acute Care and Physician Payment Reforms, Recommends Medicare Payment Updates

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has issued its annual recommendations to Congress on updates to Medicare fee-for-service payment system rates, many of which overlap recommendations made in previous years. For instance, MedPAC continues to call for implementation of a unified prospective payment system (PPS) for post-acute care (PAC) providers, including skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), … Continue Reading

CMS Releases Proposed 2019 Medicare Advantage/Part D Reimbursement Methodologies and Policies

CMS is seeking comments on its proposed updates to the methodologies used to pay Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D plan sponsors for 2019.  This year CMS released its 2019 Advance Notice and Draft Call Letter in two parts.  In late 2017, CMS released proposed changes to the Part C risk adjustment model (Part I … Continue Reading

Bipartisan Budget Act: Focus on Medicare, Medicaid, and Other Health Policy Provisions

The new Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (the Act), recently signed into law by President Trump, includes extensive Medicare, Medicaid, and other health policy and payment provisions.  Policy changes that will be welcome to health care providers and manufacturers include:  repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB); elimination of the Medicare outpatient therapy caps; … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes Changes to Medicare Advantage, Part D Programs for 2019

CMS has issued a proposed rule to update the Medicare Advantage (MA) program and Part D prescription drug benefit rules for contract year 2019.  The proposed rule would, among many other things: Implement a Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) provision that allows Part D plan sponsors to establish drug management programs that limit at-risk … Continue Reading

CMS Finalizes 2018 Medicare Advantage/Part D Policies, Seeks Ideas for Improving Programs

CMS has released its 2018 Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D Rate Announcement and Call Letter. CMS estimates that plan revenues will increase by 0.45 percent in 2018; when coding acuity is considered, plans can expect a total revenue change of 2.95 percent. CMS also adopted provisions intended to reduce opioid misuse under Medicare Part … Continue Reading

Post-Acute Care Providers Targeted for Cuts in MedPAC’s Latest Report to Congress

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has released recommendations to Congress regarding how Medicare fee-for-service payment system rates should be adjusted in 2018. One of the focus areas for MedPAC is post-acute care (PAC), which includes skilled nursing facility (SNF), home health agency (HHA), inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF), and long-term care hospital (LTCH) services.  According … Continue Reading

CMS Releases Proposed 2018 Medicare Advantage/Part D Reimbursement Methodologies and Policies

CMS has released its 2018 Advance Notice and Call Letter, which outline proposed updates to Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D plan reimbursement methodologies and policies. CMS notes that it its proposed policies focus on four major outcomes: (1) improvement in quality of care for individuals, (2) promotion of alternative payment models, (3) program integrity … Continue Reading

OIG Reports on Impact of “High-Priced Drugs” on Medicare Part D Catastrophic Coverage Spending

At the request of Congress and others, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a review of “high-priced drugs” (defined by OIG as exceeding $1,000 per month) and their impact on the Medicare program.  The OIG found that 2015 federal payments for Part D catastrophic coverage, which is triggered when a beneficiary’s out-of-pocket costs exceed … Continue Reading

CMS Plans “Listening Session” on Part D Drug Management Programs under CARA (Nov. 14)

CMS is hosting a November 14, 2016 “listening session” to obtain stakeholder input on implementation of section 704 of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA), Under this provision, Medicare Part D sponsors may establish drug management programs for at-risk beneficiaries to limit access to frequently-abused drugs to certain prescribers and pharmacies. Topics … Continue Reading

Obama Administration, Congress Take Steps to Fight Opioid Epidemic

HHS has announced a series of actions to address the nation’s opioid epidemic, as Congress has cleared the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act for the President’s signature. As part of the HHS activities, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has published a final rule to expand from 100 to 275 the number … Continue Reading

So You’re an Overpaid Medicare Part C/D Provider or Supplier: Can You Keep the Change?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published the long-awaited final rule February 12, 2016, clarifying the specific procedures applicable to the statutory requirement under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) for providers and suppliers to report and return overpayments within 60 days. While the final rule eased some of the law’s more unforgiving aspects, … Continue Reading

MedPAC Issues Recommendations on Medicare Drug, Post-Acute Care, and Other Payment Policies

MedPAC has released its June 2016 Report to the Congress on Medicare and the Health Care Delivery System. The report includes recommendations for a number of Medicare policy reforms and analyses of various health care market developments. Several chapters address Medicare drug policy, including a review of external factors that influence the prices Medicare pays … Continue Reading
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