The CMS announced that it would ask Medicare Advantage organizations to trim the number of plans that they offer in 2010, a move meant to cut loose a number of similar product types and ultimately create a more streamlinedand accurateenrollment process for seniors.
A number of insurance companies offer multiple plans that differ very little from each other, according to the CMS. Twenty-seven percent of all Medicare Advantage plans have fewer than 10 enrollees, and removing them from the market would affect only about 1% of the more than 10 million seniors who are enrolled in such programs, according to the CMS.
CMS officials also said that they would level cost-sharing components in Medicare Advantage so that sicker seniors enrolled in one of the private plans won't have to pay more in out-of-pocket expenses than those enrolled in traditional Medicare. Under this directive, the agency said it would review plan benefits that cover cost-sharing for renal dialysis, drugs administered in a physician office or for home health or skilled-nursing services.
For prescription drug plans, the CMS said it would require companies to publicly outline what they are doing to lower drug costs and improve outcomes. For instance, plan sponsors will be required to list details about quantity limits and their requirements for the use of generic drugs, as well as other data measures.
The new requirements are part of the annual call letter that the agency issues to Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans that plan to participate in the program in 2010.