Lots of lobbyists will be watching when the CMS announces final 2015 payment policies for Medicare Advantage plans on April 7.
While the agency's calculus to determine rates is complex, most financial analysts pegged the proposed cuts at 3% to 5% when the CMS announced its preliminary policy Feb. 21. That was a smaller cut than most insurers and analysts anticipated. The stock prices of the two largest Advantage insurers, UnitedHealth Group and Humana, spiked in the following weeks. Combined, the two companies cover more than a third of all enrollees.
America's Health Insurance Plans has been lobbying feverishly to soften the proposed cuts, arguing they'll lead to skimpier benefits and higher costs for seniors. It seems that every commercial break on CNN features an AHIP ad warning of dire consequences if the rates aren't revised upward.