Topic: Star Ratings

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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High Value Network: Generation 4.0

John Nimsky

When it comes to healthcare, two truism’s are that medical costs are going up along with demand for healthcare services. And when it comes to organic growth of healthcare volume and expenses, government programs represent a major driver, particularly when considering that on a daily basis thousands of baby boomers age into Medicare. During the last several years CMS has published a number of demonstration programs which are intended to improve the quality of Medicare patient outcomes while promoting financial efficiency on a unity cost or per procedure basis.

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Another Flood of Good News for Medicare Advantage

John Gorman

Last week the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) did its annual data dump for the 2015 Medicare Advantage (MA) and Prescription Drug Plan (PDP) bids.  Even with MA plans sailing into the worst rate environment in over 15 years, the data offered another flood of good news for the industry.

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Bombshells from MedPAC on Medicare Advantage Retention

John Gorman

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC ), the nonpartisan blue-chip Congressional uber-nerds on our favorite entitlement program, met this week and the staff report presented a couple bombshells on retention rates in Medicare Advantage (MA).

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CMS’s Star Ratings Firing Squad Gets Squirt Guns

John Gorman

Last week, in a surprise move, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reversed its threat to terminate all Medicare Advantage and Part D health plans with 3 or fewer Stars for more than 3 consecutive years.  Roughly a dozen health plans were lined up in front of the firing squad as an example to the industry for months — and then CMS issued squirt guns to the executioners. 

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