KHN Morning Briefing

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Federal Officials Propose Small Rise In Medicare Advantage Rates

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed an average 1.35 percent increase in the rate the government pays private Medicare Advantage plans for 2017.

The Wall Street Journal: Federal Regulators Propose Increase To Medicare Advantage Rates
Federal regulators proposed what they said was a slight rise in payments for insurers that offer private Medicare plans, a closely watched figure as this coverage becomes increasingly central to the companies’ business. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated that the Medicare Advantage rate proposal represented a 1.35% increase on average for 2017, though the agency said the insurers would likely see overall revenue increase about 3.55% as they deliver—and bill for—more intensive services. (Wilde Mathews, 2/19)

Reuters: U.S. Proposes Hike In Medicare Advantage Payments; Insurer Shares Rise
The U.S. government on Friday proposed raising payments by 1.35 percent on average next year to the health insurers who offer Medicare Advantage health benefits to elderly and disabled Americans. Payments to insurers will vary under the 2017 Medicare Advantage proposal, based on the region the plans are sold and on the size of bonus payments insurers can receive based on quality ratings, the government said. (Humer, 2/19)

The Hill: CMS Proposes Small Increase In Medicare Advantage Payments
The announcement of the Medicare Advantage payments is a subject of intense lobbying from insurers and is also watched closely by lawmakers in both parties who oppose cuts to a program in which many of their constituents are enrolled. The number of lawmakers pressing the CMS against cuts to the program has been rising in recent years. This year, 61 senators and 308 House members in both parties signed letters opposing cuts. (Sullivan, 2/19)

Modern Healthcare: CMS Proposes 1.35% Medicare Advantage Rate Hike For 2017
The proposal is a major shift from last February, when initial benchmark rates were cut by an average of 0.95% before factoring in risk score trends. In addition to pay bumps, several major policies are embedded within the CMS' advance rate notice, including changes that will help insurers with many low-income seniors, known as dual-eligibles because they qualify for Medicare and Medicaid. The CMS included changes to the Medicare Advantage risk-adjustment model and quality ratings system that will, in essence, boost taxpayer funding for plans that enroll higher amounts of poor seniors. (Herman, 2/19)

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