KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Medicare Advantage Plans’ Star Ratings Shows Little Change In Quality Over Past Year

Although the number of these plans earning four stars or better have fallen slightly, more beneficiaries are signing up for the higher performing plans.

Modern Healthcare: Medicare Advantage Star Ratings Show Insurers' Performance Hasn't Improved 
The CMS' release of its Medicare star ratings reveals that performance among insurers overall in Medicare Advantage remains largely unchanged year-over-year. ... The CMS said about 44% of the 384 active Medicare Advantage contracts in 2018 that also have Part D prescription drug coverage earned 4 stars or higher for their overall rating. This is a drop from 2017 when about 49% of the 363 active Medicare Advantage plans earned 4 stars or higher. Although the overall number of 4-star or high plans dropped slightly, more beneficiaries will be covered by the highest performing Medicare Advantage plans in 2018, the CMS said. Nearly 73% of Medicare Advantage enrollees are in contracts with 4 or more stars, compared to about 69% of enrollees in such plans last year. (Castellucci, 10/11)

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Ten Questions To Ask During Medicare Open Enrollment
It’s time for one of the more confusing rituals of the retirement years: Medicare open enrollment. If you like your current plan, it might be tempting to leave things alone for another year, but experts say that’s not a good idea. Insurers tweak Medicare Advantage plans all the time, and depending on your needs, these changes can cost you money or leave you unable to see your favorite doctors. Even in traditional Medicare, it’s a good idea to reevaluate your drug plan because insurers may change which drugs they cover or the co-pays they charge. (Burling, 10/12)

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