Topic: Brain Food

Little Reason for Optimism in Red State Medicaid Expansion

John Gorman

For months several Wall Street analysts and others have predicted near-total adoption of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion by the states.  To date, only 27 have, and I see little optimism for more than a handful to do so anytime soon.

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NY Times article reiterates compliance trends in Medicare Advantage

Betsy Seals

As many of you have already read, the NY Times ran a scathing article on October 12th titled “U.S. Finds Many Errors in Medicare Health Plans” shining a light on serious Compliance issues we’ve all been aware of over the past several years. Is the continued lack of non-compliance really news to anyone in the industry? Most certainly not – we have all been tracking the continued issues of non-compliance, increased CMS Compliance actions, and have read the audit reports posted on the CMS website. What the NY Times article did was remind us that the compliance trends in Medicare Advantage are a serious matter which should not be taken lightly.

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Exchange 2014 Data Submission Due April 30,2015

Janet Fina

As we wind down on our inaugural year with Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX), we have seen plans using a variety of approaches in their Risk Adjustment data reporting efforts. Some continue to use the same approaches used for their Medicare programs (chart reviews, provider outreach, in-home assessments, etc). Some have not even begun any retrospective, prospective or quality programs because they don’t know where to begin. What is the right approach? Probably somewhere in the middle.

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Noteworthy declines in Star Measures: Ensure a 4-Star Performance

Jane Scott

With 5% of revenue contingent on achieving at least 4 Stars, the stakes have never been higher for Medicare Advantage plans. Within the 40% of plans earning at least 4 Stars in 2015, plan leaders are celebrating their return on investment from quality improvement initiatives and other Stars-impactful activities. But for the 135 plans on the Stars bubble at 3.5 Stars, and the 102 plans earning 3 or fewer Stars in 2015, the race is on.

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Reversing the Trend: Improving Care Coordination

Jane Scott

The good news from the 2015 Star Ratings is clear: Medicare Advantage plans held steady or improved in almost 70% of the 46 Part C & D Star measures. But the more subtle message hidden underneath the 15 measures where performance declined in 2015 is similarly clear: health plans have not yet mastered population management and care coordination in a way that improves health outcomes. By linking the Quality Bonus Payments to 4 Star performance, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is conveying their message: health plans must effectively coordinate the diagnosis to the healthcare activities for their members in order to drive improved health outcomes and satisfy members.

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The 2015 Ratings are In: Have the Stars Aligned?

Melissa Smith

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the 2015 Medicare Advantage Star Ratings, and the Stars seem to be aligning with CMS’ goals of the Star Ratings program.  For the 40% of Medicare Advantage plans earning at least 4 Stars this year, and thus qualifying for Quality Bonus Payments, these newly-released Star Ratings illustrate the value of health plans’ investments in clinical innovation and quality improvement within Medicare Advantage product offerings.

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Marketplaces – Your Stars are coming

Steve Balcerzak

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been aggressively working in the background to establish the Star Ratings program for the Marketplaces, thus consumers will have their first quality information by 2017.  Selecting a Marketplace health plan will no longer be based only on price or provider.  As such, quality ratings will have a bearing on market share.

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