Vice President for Health Policy
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the preliminary 2015 payment rates for private “Medicare Advantage” plans that serve some Medicare beneficiaries and, just as we expected, Friday’s announcement include no payment reductions beyond those already in law.
Also as expected, the health insurance industry’s trade association, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), still insisted that the CMS announcement included “new proposed cuts.” AHIP wants CMS to keep Medicare Advantage payment rates “flat” in 2015. But to do so would effectively mean repealing or scaling back most provisions of health reform that rein in excessive Medicare Advantage payments over time. These provisions, however, are sound and should remain in full effect.
What did CMS actually announce? The highlights include four areas where CMS is applying current law, reflecting the combined impact on Medicare Advantage payment rates of health reform and the continued slowdown in growth in Medicare costs.