February 22, 2016
1 min read

CMS proposes increase for 2017 Medicare Advantage plans

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CMS has proposed changes for the Medicare Advantage and Part D Prescription Drug Programs in 2017, according to a press release.

The changes would "provide stable and fair payments to plans" and make "unprecedented improvements to the program for plans that provide high quality care to the most vulnerable enrollees."

“These proposals continue to keep Medicare Advantage strong and stable and as with this past year, support the provision of high quality, affordable care to seniors and people living with disabilities," Andy Slavitt, CMS acting administrator, said in the release. “In particular, these proposals support investment in dually Medicare-Medicaid eligible individuals and those with complex socioeconomic needs.”

According to CMS, the updates would increase payments for the Medicare Advantage plans by an average of 1.35%. The increase is "consistent with last year's update and reflects a similar pattern in Medicare fee-for-service."

The agency has also proposed improving payment accuracy for plans that serve vulnerable populations, correcting Star Ratings to reflect socioeconomic and disability status of enrollees and modifying risk adjust payment methodology.

CMS also noted that both quality and enrollment have increased in Medicare Advantage and Part D since the Affordable Care Act was enacted. Enrollment hit a record high in 2016, with an increase by 50% to more than 17.1 million beneficiaries, following a trend of yearly record highs that started in 2010. Nearly one-third of all Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.

Marilyn Tavenner, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, responded to the proposal in a press release.

"More than 360 members of Congress and 2 million seniors in the Coalition for Medicare Choices urged CMS to protect Medicare Advantage from any further cuts," she said in the release. "While we are in the process of carefully reviewing all of these provisions, we will be looking closely at any proposals that would undermine health plans' care coordination and disease management programs, especially for low-income individuals. It's critically important that the agency finalize policies that ensure the long-term stability and continued growth of the program for millions of beneficiaries who depend on Medicare Advantage for their coverage."