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- callcenter972 on Call Center Metrics Reporting Should Be Robust and Actionable
- Sione Ayers on Diagnosing the ObamaCare Glitches: Who Farted and Is Pointing at the Dog?
- Tim Leary on New ACO Reg has some zingers
- Lisa Jefferson on What Happens to Medicare/Medicaid If There’s a Government Shutdown?
- Fred Hamlin on Big News: A Health Care Cost Indicator Went *DOWN*. AGAIN!
Topic: Part D
Since the October 1 launch of the ObamaCare health insurance exchanges/marketplaces, there’s been a growing din over the field conduct of navigators and insurance agents, in the process of enrolling eligibles on behalf of the exchanges or the health plans participating in them. Meanwhile, the associations backing brokers are putting pressure on the Obama administration, insisting that brokers should be more involved in the enrollment process. Add a regulatory infrastructure that is lax – at best – when it comes to training and enforcement … does anyone else have a sense of déjà vu? It’s the market conduct growing pains of the Part D inception all over again. There is no doubt that some of the “navigators and agents gone wild” stories out there are simply anecdotal rumor mill reports coming from enterprising local reporters, or are “stings” by conservative bloggers and activists scoring cheap anti-reform points.
Back in the ’80’s Fram Oil Filters had an advertising campaign that featured an actor dressed as a mechanic, admonishing viewers to get their oil changed and get a new oil filter, to prevent costly engine damage. “Pay me now or pay me later,” he said.
If you’re paying any attention to the worsening drama here in DC, dig in because the calendar is not our friend. With the stalemate over the government shutdown ossifying, the Congress just backed into the debt ceiling, which we’ll hit in less than two weeks. Now we’re going to need a big deal both reopening the government and raising the debt ceiling to get out of this mess, at the very moment postions are hardening. A few days ago, I thought a shutdown would go on for about a week…now I’m thinking it might be a month, or even longer. And that could have big implications for ObamaCare, Medicare and Medicaid.
Last week amid all the ObamaCare drama on the Hill CMS released the 2014 data for Medicare Advantage (MA) and Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) bids. The numbers show a better-than-expected 2013 and a healthy 2014 ahead for Medicare health plans. The market will see new service areas, lower bids, more zero premium plans, and more mainstreaming of Medicare Advantage as it approaches one-third of the program. CMS noted significant gains on plan quality measures, pointing out that more plans are receiving a rank of four -plus on Star Ratings, the minimum threshold for quality bonuses in 2015 when the quality demonstration expires. Overall there is clear evidence that CMS quality incentives are working, and that MA will continue its steady ~10% growth in 2014.
With summer drawing to a spectacular close here in Washington, it’s abundantly clear that the “train wreck” everyone’s expecting won’t involve the launch of ObamaCare, but rather an epic legislative pile-up in Congress. With the collision of the debate on Syria, the immigration bill tearing the GOP apart, and now a near-concurrent exhaustion of government funding and the debt ceiling at the end of September/early October, the President and Speaker Boehner will be picking up the pieces of their agendas come Halloween. The question is whether government-sponsored health programs will have to give up another pound of flesh in the process.
Since the passage of the Medicare Modernization Act, Gorman Health Group has been discussing the value that Medicare Advantage (MA) and Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) offer to both public sector and private sector employers for their Medicare eligible retirees. The value proposition includes FASB/GASB benefits as well as more affordable coverage. A number of employers have moved their retirees to these plans over the last seven years. Some employers contract directly with a MA plan or PDP plan while other employers offer their retirees a choice of plans through a private exchange such as Extend Health. This has been a gradual movement. However, during the last year, the shift has been very dramatic. CMS enrollment data for August 2013 show that employer group enrollment in PDPs was 4.4 million which is more than double the 2 million employer group enrollment in August 2012. Employer group enrollment in MA plans increased to 2.6 million in August 2013 compared to 2.4 million enrollment in August 2012.