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Payers Expect 3 Percent Medicare Advantage Payment Cut

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media, April 11, 2014

Despite an official prediction that MA health plan payment rates will be essentially unchanged in 2015, Cigna, Aetna, and Humana expect payments to fall next year.

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Monday that Medicare Advantage health plan payment rates in 2015 would increase an average of 0.4 percent. But insurers are forecasting a three percent cut in 2015 MA payments.

 "While Cigna continues to review and assess the full impact of CMS's 2015 rate changes, it's clear that the full 2015 impact will include a reduction in payments, " a Cigna spokeswoman said in an email Thursday.

 "Our estimated impact to the industry is consistent with analysts' reports that the Medicare Advantage program is facing an average three percent cut from 2014 to 2015, when factoring in CMS changes with ACA and other industry fees set to take effect in 2015. "

In February, CMS proposed to cut MA payment rates at least 1.9 percent. An analysis conducted on behalf of America's Health Insurance Plans pegged the proposed cut higher, at 5.9 percent.

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