CMS holds steady on Medicare Advantage

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

WASHINGTON – CMS has proposed a very small decrease in payments to Medicare Advantage plans for 2016, the agency announced Feb. 20.

CMS says it wants to pay private insurers 0.95% less next year. When more intensive services are factored in, however, the agency says it expects overall payments to increase about 1.05%.

“The proposed rates will enhance the stability of the Medicare Advantage program and minimize disruption to seniors and care providers,” stated Andy Slavitt, CMS Principal Deputy Administrator, in a press release.

CMS is currently accepting comments on the proposal and plans to publish a final version on April 6.

The agency has reported record high enrollment in Medicare Advantage plans each year since 2010, a trend continuing in 2015 with a total increase of more than 40% since the Affordable Care Act was passed.

Additionally, CMS reports that premiums for these plans have fallen nearly 6% from 2010 to 2015.

In past years, proposed decreases in payments to Medicare Advantage plans have been reversed. In 2014, for example, a 1.9% decline turned into a 0.4% increase.