What We're Reading: Proposed MA Payment Hike, No VA Privatization, and New Savings Account

CMS Proposed Payment Increase for Medicare Advantage

The government has proposed increasing average payments to health insurers offering Medicare Advantage plans by 0.25%. According to Reuters, last year the proposed increase had been 1.35% before it was later reduced to 0.5%. As Republicans consider replacing or changing the Affordable Care Act, Medicare Advantage plans, which have seen increases in enrollment of 7% in the last year, will be increasingly important for insurers’ business.

Shulkin Promises No Privatization for VA

While President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will enact sweeping changes, he will not privatize the department. David Shulkin, the current undersecretary of health for the VA, testified before the Senate Committee on VA and promised not to privatize the department during his tenure, reported The Wall Street Journal. Trump has expressed interest in further privatizing the VA, but Shulkin said he would oppose such efforts. Shulkin is a holdover from the Obama administration and had joined the VA in 2015.

A New Savings Account for People With Disabilities

The new Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) account allows people with disabilities to save more money without losing government benefits. AP reported that the accounts are run by states, similar to 529 plans for college savings, and that eligible individuals would be able to save and still receive benefits such as Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income monthly payments. Only 16 states offer these accounts so far and only legal residents who had a disability before the age of 26 can open an account. The funds in the ABLE account can be used on any expenses that improve the life, independence, or health of the person with disabilities.