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Medicare Advantage Payment Rates for 2015 Cloaked in Uncertainty

Christopher Cheney, for HealthLeaders Media, February 26, 2014

"Reports from leading industry analysts show broad consensus that the CMS proposal, if finalized, would result in Medicare Advantage payment cuts of at least 4 percent in 2015 and likely much higher once other changes are factored in. This means that total cuts to Medicare Advantage would exceed 10 percent in just a two-year period, causing further disruption for the more than 15 million seniors who get their Medicare coverage through Medicare Advantage."

A federal Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services spokesperson reached Tuesday said the agency could not "speculate" about any add-ons that could increase the size of the financial hit to Medicare Advantage insurers. The official also defended the 1.9 percent cut announced Friday.

"The proposed changes for 2015 for Medicare Advantage are smaller than those implemented in 2014," the spokesperson said. "As we've seen over the past few years, efforts to reduce overpayments for medical services have corresponded with falling premiums for consumers."

"Since the Affordable Care Act became law, enrollment in Medicare Advantage has increased nearly 33 percent while premiums have fallen by 10, and premiums for Part B have remained flat. We believe that beneficiaries will have a wide array of high quality, low cost options in 2015 while we make certain that plans are providing value to Medicare and taxpayers."

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