Medicare Advantage Cuts Expected

Christopher Cheney, April 4, 2014

Healthcare payers and providers are bracing for a payment rate cut to Medicare Advantage health plans next year. The 2015 rate is expected to be announced Monday by CMS.

In February, federal officials received a decidedly cold reaction to a proposed 2015 Medicare Advantage payment rate cut from the health insurance industry. Next week, regulators will likely feel some heat when they announce a final decision on the cut.

On Monday, the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is set to release the final 2015 Rate Announcement and Call Letter that will establish payment rates and rule changes for next year. Among the most contentious changes CMS proposed in February is a payment rate cut to MA that insurers have estimated at just under 6 percent.

Medicare Advantage Program Standards Tightening

America's Health Insurance Plans, the main trade association for healthcare payers, has waged an aggressive lobbying campaign against the anticipated MA cut. The effort has included organizing seniors as well as an avalanche of press releases and op-ed pieces.

In an editorial published Wednesday in USA Today, AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni said a 6 percent cut to MA for a second year in a row could result in millions of seniors losing their health insurance policies.

Christopher Cheney

Christopher Cheney is the senior finance editor at HealthLeaders Media.

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