KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Insurers Launch TV Campaign Opposing Medicare Advantage Cuts

The ads, including a 30-second TV spot that will run in a dozen states and Washington, D.C., are designed to increase pressure on Congress and the Obama administration to stop proposed 2.3 percent cuts to these private plans. In addition, some analysts predict earnings drops for some insurers if the cuts go forward.

Reuters: Health Insurers Launch TV War Over Medicare Advantage Cuts
The health insurance industry is escalating its lobbying battle against a proposed Medicare Advantage pay cut to insurers by launching a television and online advertising campaign to garner public support among the program's 14 million beneficiaries. America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), a leading Washington-based trade group, said a 30-second commercial titled "Too Much" would be shown in a dozen states and the Washington, D.C., area in hopes of dissuading the Obama administration from imposing a 2.3 percent cut in government payments next year (3/6).

CQ HealthBeat: AHIP Launches Ad Campaign In States Slamming Proposed Medicare Advantage Cuts
The health insurance industry is targeting states with high Medicare Advantage enrollment as well as influential members of Congress in a television and online ad campaign that raises the pressure yet another notch on the Obama administration to roll back proposed cuts in private plan payments. America’s Health Insurance Plans launched TV ad buys Wednesday on cable in the Washington, D.C., area, as well as ads with state-specific Medicare Advantage enrollment numbers in New York, Louisiana and Pennsylvania, where MA plans are popular, AHIP officials said in a news release (Norman, 3/6).

The Associated Press: Analysts Predicts Medicare Advantage Earnings Slip
A Goldman Sachs analyst says forecasts for some health insurer earnings per share next year could slide as much as 10 percent if steep Medicare Advantage funding cuts materialize. Analyst Matthew Borsch said in a Wednesday morning research note that insurers like Humana Inc. and Universal American Corp. face the most exposure to potential cuts. Medicare Advantage makes up a higher proportion of total enrollment for those insurers compared to other companies in the sector (3/6).

In other Medicare news -

The Medicare NewsGroup: Medicare's Middlemen Await Word From CMS To Put In Play Sequesration Cuts
Medicare’s middlemen, the companies that will carry out the administrative work of the automatic budget cuts set to hit Medicare providers on April 1, are waiting for directions from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to put in play provider payment reductions. The updates to the payment systems will ultimately lead to $11 billion in reduced payments to hospitals, doctors and other health care providers for the remainder of fiscal year 2013. These middlemen are Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs), the private companies that handle the bulk of the entitlement program’s administrative claims processes. They will implement the 2 percent across-the-board payment reductions, mandated by sequestration, which is the result of the federal government’s inability to reach a deficit-reduction deal totaling $1.2 trillion. This means a .02 cent cut for every $1 paid to health care services providers, such as doctors, hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, insurers, medical device suppliers and home health companies (Sjoerdsma, 3/6).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.