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Medicare

Medicare Advantage Part B Plans Can Use Drug Step Therapy

August 13, 2018 - CMS is allowing Medicare Advantage (MA) health plans to implement step therapy protocols in order to decrease prescription drug spending. On January 1, 2019, MA health plans can apply step therapy guidelines for physician-administered medications. Step therapy requires beneficiaries to use condition-based prefered medications before using more expensive drugs. MA plans can also...


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Only 22% of Medicare Advantage Customers Aware of Star Ratings

by Thomas Beaton

Only 22 percent of Medicare Advantage (MA) beneficiaries are familiar with how star ratings work and increasing consumer awareness about star ratings would help beneficiaries choose high quality plans, according to a new Healthmine...

Medicare Part D Premiums Expected to Decline in 2019

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has announced that monthly Medicare Part D premiums are expected to fall from $33.59 in 2018 to $32.50 in 2019 as new policies to reduce Medicare’s drug costs take effect. Earlier in 2018, CMS issued a final rule that made...

Centene, Ascension Partner for Medicare Advantage Offering

by Thomas Beaton

Centene and Ascension have partnered to offer a Medicare Advantage plan across multiple geographic markets in 2020.   Centene Chairman and CEO Michael F. Neidorff believes that the partnership will showcase effective strategies to...

How to Address Medicare Advantage Beneficiary Disenrollment

by Thomas Beaton

Medicare Advantage is a growing market and an attractive opportunity for payers to offer quality plans to older beneficiaries.  Competition is increasing in the MA environment, and beneficiaries have more options than ever to meet...

CMS Proposes Site-Neutral Payments, Drug Price Negotiation

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has proposed a rule that would expand the use of site-neutral payments and improve the drug price negotiation process with manufacturers in order to reduce Medicare’s overall spending. The new rule would allow Medicare to...

10% of Medicare Advantage Members Receive Chronic Care Reminders

by Thomas Beaton

Only 10 percent of Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medigap plan members receive chronic care management reminders,, according to a new survey from Healthmine. The CDC estimates that 70 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries have at least one...

Generic Drugs Could Have Saved $3B for Medicare Part D Program

by Thomas Beaton

Using generic drugs instead of their brand-name equivalents could have saved the Medicare Part D program approximately $3 billion in 2016 alone, according to new data from HHS. A relatively small number of brand-name therapies is...

How Do Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplemental Insurance Differ?

by Thomas Beaton

Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare supplemental insurance, or Medigap, are both intended to enhance the value of traditional Medicare coverage for seniors and other eligible beneficiaries. Both offer payers a lucrative opportunity to...

CMS Proposes Drug Pricing, Price Transparency Changes for Medicare

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has proposed a series of policy changes for Medicare that would promote prescription drug affordability within Medicare, and has also requested stakeholder comments about ways to improve price transparency for Medicare services. As...

Medicare Advantage Savings, Outcomes Exceed Fee-For-Service

by Thomas Beaton

The Medicare Advantage (MA) program has surpassed Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) in developing positive member healthcare outcomes and reducing care costs, according to an analysis of both programs from Avalere Health. Medicare Advantage...

Medicare Advantage Star Ratings Tied to Member Socioeconomic Strata

by Thomas Beaton

Medicare Advantage (MA) health plans with a greater proportion of socioeconomically challenged members are more likely to have lower star ratings, according to new research from Brown University. Insufficient risk adjustment criteria in...

Medicare, Medicaid Home Health Benefits Stabilize Care Costs

by Thomas Beaton

Providing extended home health benefits for Medicare beneficiaries is likely to stabilize care costs for public payer programs, according to a new analysis from the Commonwealth Fund. Researchers from the Hilltop Institute and Johns...

Customer Satisfaction with Medicare Advantage Health Plans Remain Low

by Thomas Beaton

Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are not meeting their customer satisfaction goals, and tend to leave consumers feeling less-than-pleased with the way health plans communicate and the availability of financial information, according to a new...

MedPAC: Value-Based Payment, Post-Acute Care Boost Medicare Savings

by Thomas Beaton

MedPAC has advised Congress that value-based payment reform and encouraging the use of post-acute care can help the Medicare program increase savings and improve beneficiary outcomes, the group said in a new report. Revisions to payment...

Senators: Stop $89B in Medicare, Medicaid Improper Payments

by Thomas Beaton

The US Senate Budget Committee has penned a letter to HHS Secretary Alex Azar urging the department to address approximately $89 billion in improper payments within Medicare and Medicaid. The Senators referenced a recent GAO report...

Humana, Walgreens Offer Primary Care Clinics for Medicare Members

by Thomas Beaton

Humana and Walgreens have announced the launch of two primary care clinics, designed to meet the needs of Medicare beneficiaries, that will operate within Walgreens locations in the Kansas City area. The collaboration, led by a Humana...

AHIP, BCBSA, AMA Join to Improve Public, Private Payer Ecosystem

by Thomas Beaton

The Partnership for America’s Health Care Future (PAHCF), a newly formed coalition, consisting of leading healthcare provider societies and payer organizations, has committed to strengthening the nation’s private and public...

Medicare Bundled Payment Programs Primed to Produce Savings

by Thomas Beaton

Medicare’s bundled payment programs are in an opportune position to produce additional savings and create a more cost-effective public payer program with certain revisions, a new white paper from USC Brookings explains. CMS’s...

Unstable Future Predicted for Medicare, Depletion by 2026

by Thomas Beaton

The Medicare Board of Trustees (MBT)’s latest report anticipates that Medicare’s Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund will deplete by the year 2026 as Medicare spending continues to outgrow the trust’s collective...

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