The Senate has OKd an amendment to its budget blueprint that would protect enrollees in Medicare Advantage plans from premium hikes and service reductions because of proposals outlined in a letter released by the CMS Feb. 20.
In its letter, known as an advance notice, the CMS projected per capita growth rates in Medicare Advantage to decrease by 1.1%, which would buck a trend of continued growth seen over the past five years. The formula, however, assumes that physicians will be on the losing end of a 21% scheduled pay cut for 2010something Congress has reversed in the past and is expected to do again.
The growth rate factors into how much plans are reimbursed through Medicare, said Robert Zirkelbach, director of strategic communications for Americas Health Insurance Plans. Under the CMS proposals, Medicare Advantage plans would be paid less, he said.
Additionally, 15 senators have signed a letter, which was sent to the CMS, expressing concern over the growth-rate formula as well as a proposal that would reduce payments by 3.74% because of differences between the coding practices found in Medicare Advantage vs. those in traditional Medicare.
The CMS proposal looks at three years of data, but would hit plans with the cut within only one years time. While inconsistent coding practices must be examined, we have serious concerns with this overly broad approach, the letter states.
The CMS is expected to release payment information for Medicare Advantage and prescription drug plans on Monday.