CMS Proposes Increasing Medicare Advantage Payments 1.35%

CMS proposes increasing payments to Medicare Advantage plans by an average of 1.35% in 2017 in contrast to proposed cuts in recent years.

CMS is proposing to increase payments for Medicare Advantage plans by an average of 1.35% for 2017. The agency is also proposing to improve the precision of payments to plans that service vulnerable populations, to adjust the Star Ratings to reflect socioeconomic and disability status of a plan’s enrollees, and to revise methodology used to risk adjust payments.

The modest payment increase is a contrast to the proposed cuts from CMS in recent years.

“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," CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said in a statement. “In particular, these proposals support investment in dually Medicare-Medicaid eligible individuals and those with complex socioeconomic needs.”

Since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage enrollment has increased 50% to cover 17.1 million beneficiaries. Nearly one-third of all Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.

According to CMS, the average number of Medicare plan choices remained consistent in 2016 compared with 2015.

“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,” Marilyn Tavenner, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, said in a statement. “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."