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Medicare Blog | Medicare News | Medicare Information

The 2017 Medicare Advantage Enrollment Window is Right Around the Corner...Be Prepared with PSM

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 @ 09:58 AM

2017 Medicare Advantage Sneak Peeks

The AEP is right around the corner and there are some exciting opportunities on the horizon for 2017.

Make sure you are up to date with the latest information including expansion areas (available now for select carriers), plan designs (coming soon) and certification announcements.Join our update list today or call one of our marketing representatives at 800-998-7715 for the latest information.

As an added value, we are providing a discount on AHIP training for being a part of our team. Click on the link below to access the details.

Updates Include:

  • Service area expansions and reductions from current companies
  • Sneak Peeks at pricing and benefit information
  • Comparison tools and lead generation ideas
  • Certification announcements - AHIP Discount for PSM Agents

Bonus: CMS also just released some great news for Medicare Advantage and PDP commission rates for 2017 and they are the highest ever! Details located here.

More exciting details to come and we look forward to being your one-stop-shop for all your Medicare needs this enrollment season.

Additional Updates:
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Tags: Medicare Advantage, Medicare, ma commissions,, PDP

2 New Exclusive Medicare Supplement Releases from PSM - Liberty Bankers Life and Thrivent Financial

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, Jun 16, 2016 @ 04:15 PM

New Med Supp Product ReleaseSPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT:

PSM is proud to announce two New Exclusive Medicare Supplement products now available for our agents to get contracted.

Liberty Bankers Life Medicare Supplement

Thrivent Financial Medicare Supplement

Both products are poised to take the industry by storm with ultra competitive rates and commissions. We are excited to bring these new opportunities to our agents and make sure you have the most competitive options in your portfolio.

Along with excellent rates and commissions, you can also expect to see best in class service and support along with some new technology to make it easy to write business.

Some preliminary highlights include:

  • Multi-state release
  • Well respected brand names
  • Excellent commissions with immediate vesting
  • Ultra competitive rates with HHD*
  • e-Contracting for agents
  • e-App for clients
  • Comprehensive portal to run quotes, access forms and manage business
  • and much more

We appreciate the opportunity to be your broker of choice and look forward to working with you on these exciting new offerings. Please click on the links above to request information or call our office at 800-998-7715.

* May not be available in all states
Image courtesy of Freepik

Additional Updates:
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Tags: Medicare, Medicare Supplement, Breaking News

Update: Maximum Broker Commissions for Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D for 2017

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, Jun 02, 2016 @ 05:33 PM

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For 2017 effective dates, CMS has increased maximum broker commissions for both Medicare Advantage and Prescription drug plans. Below is the content from the memorandum published by CMS.

SUBJECT: Contract Year 2017 Agent and Broker Compensation Rate Adjustments, Submissions, and Agent and Broker Training and Testing Requirements

This memorandum provides the updated agent and broker compensation limits for Contract Year (CY) 2017 and information regarding submitting compensation amounts to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) through the Health Plan Management System (HPMS).

Additionally, this memorandum provides requirements for Medicare Advantage organizations, Prescription Drug Plan sponsors, and Section 1876 Cost Plans (herein after “organizations”) to use in developing their curricula for training and testing agents and brokers for CY 2017.

Compensation Rate Adjustment for CY 2017

As provided in 42 C.F.R. §§422.2274(b)(1) and 423.2274(b), the compensation amount paid to an independent agent or broker for an enrollment must be at or below the fair market value (FMV) cutoff amounts published yearly by CMS.

The chart below summarizes the CY 2017 FMV cut-off amounts for all organizations.

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Medicare Advantage Broker Commissions:

  • For CA and NJ, initial MA commissions increased to $553. Replacement commissions increased to $277.
  • For CT, PA and DC, initial MA commissions increased to $498. Replacement commissions increased to $249.
  • For all other states, initial MA commissions increase to $443. Replacement commissions increased to $222.

Medicare Part D Broker Commissions:

  • Initial PDP commissions increased to $71. Replacement commissions increased to $36.

Click on the link below to read the full article.

Source: CMS
Image courtesy of Freepik

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Tags: Medicare Advantage, Medicare, ma commissions,, PDP

Baby Boomers Will Become Sicker Seniors Than Earlier Generations

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, May 26, 2016 @ 12:50 PM

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The next generation of senior citizens will be sicker and costlier to the health care system over the next 14 years than previous generations, according to a new report from the United Health Foundation.

The report looks at the current health status of people ages 50 to 64 and compares them to the same ages in 1999.

The upshot? There will be about 55 percent more senior citizens who have diabetes than there are today, and about 25 percent more who are obese. Overall, the report says that the next generation of seniors will be 9 percent less likely to say they have good or excellent overall health.

That's bad news for baby boomers. Health care costs for people with diabetes are about 2.5 times higher than for those without, according to the study.

It's also bad news for taxpayers.

"The dramatic increase has serious implications for the long-term health of those individuals and for the finances of our nation," says Rhonda Randall, a senior adviser to the United Health Foundation and chief medical officer at UnitedHealthcare Retiree Solutions, which sells Medicare Advantage plans.

Most of the costs will be borne by Medicare, the government-run health care system for seniors, and by extension, taxpayers.

Some states will be harder hit than others. Colorado, for example, can expect the numbers of older people with diabetes to increase by 138 percent by 2030, while Arizona will see its population of obese people over 65 grow by 90 percent.

There is some good news in the report, too.

People who are now between 65 and 80 years old have seen their overall health improve compared to three years ago. And people who are aging into the senior community are far less likely to smoke than earlier generations.

"Some of these trends are very good and in the right direction," Randall tells Shots.

She says the decrease in smoking shows that it's possible to change health behaviors, noting that doctors, public health professionals and policymakers used a variety of strategies simultaneously to reduce smoking.

"That's a good model for what we need to look at to tackle the epidemic of diabetes and the big concern we have around obesity," she says.

The study also ranked states on the health of their current senior populations. Massachusetts topped the list, jumping to No. 1 from the No. 6 ranking it had the last time the rankings were calculated. Vermont slipped to No. 2. Louisiana is the least healthy state for older adults.

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Click on the link below to read the full article.

Source: http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/05/25/479359856/baby-boomers-will-become-sicker-seniors-than-earlier-generations
Image courtesy of Freepik

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Tags: Medicare, Seniors

Medicare Advantage 2016 Spotlight: Enrollment Market Update

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Thu, May 19, 2016 @ 09:32 AM

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The number and share of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage has steadily climbed over the past decade, and this trend in enrollment growth is continuing in 2016. The growth in enrollment has occurred despite reductions in payments to plans enacted by the Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA).1 As of 2016, the payment reductions have been fully phased-in in 78 percent of counties, accounting for 70 percent of beneficiaries and 68 percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees.

This Data Spotlight reviews national and state-level Medicare Advantage enrollment trends as of March 2016 and examines variations in enrollment by plan type and firm. It analyzes the most recent data on premiums, out-of-pocket limits, Part D cost sharing, and plans’ quality ratings. Key findings include:

  • Medicare Advantage enrollment has increased in virtually all states over the past year. Almost one in three people on Medicare (31% or 17.6 million beneficiaries) is enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2016 (Figure 1). The penetration rate exceeds 40 percent in 5 states.

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  • Over 3 million enrollees (18%) are in a group plan in 2016.
  • UnitedHealthcare and Humana together account for 39 percent of enrollment in 2016; enrollment continues to be highly concentrated among a handful of firms, both nationally and in local markets. If Aetna acquired Humana with no divestitures in 2016, the combined firm would account for 25 percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees nationwide.
  • On average, premiums paid by enrollees were relatively constant between 2015 and 2016 ($37 per month in 2016 versus $38 per month in 2015), although premiums vary widely across states, counties, and plan types.
  • Medicare Advantage plans, unlike traditional Medicare, are required to provide an out-of-pocket limit (not to exceed $6,700) for services covered under Parts A and B. In 2016, the average enrollee had an out-of-pocket limit of $5,223 – nearly $1,000 higher than it was in 2011 ($4,313). More than one-third of all enrollees in Medicare Advantage prescription drug plans in 2016 (37%) are in plans with limits at the maximum.


Overall Trends in Enrollment

NATIONWIDE ENROLLMENT

In 2016, 17.6 million beneficiaries – 31 percent of the Medicare population – are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan (Figure 2). Total Medicare Advantage enrollment grew by about 0.9 million beneficiaries, or 5 percent, between 2015 and 2016. Although this is a slower rate of growth in percentage terms than any year since 2006, the growth reflects the ongoing expansion of the position Medicare Advantage plays in the Medicare program. The growth in Medicare Advantage enrollment reflects both the influence of seniors aging on to Medicare as well as small shifts in the larger pool of beneficiaries in traditional Medicare switching to Medicare Advantage plans.

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TRENDS IN ENROLLMENT BY PLAN TYPE

As has been the case each year since 2007, about two-thirds (64%) of Medicare Advantage enrollees are in HMOs in 2016 (Figure 3). Almost one-third of enrollees are in PPOs – with more in local PPOs (23%) than regional PPOs (7%) – and the remainder are in Private Fee-For Service (PFFS) plans (1%) and other types of plans (4%), including cost plans and Medicare Medical Savings Accounts (MSAs)

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  • Enrollment in HMOs increased by 0.6 million to 11.3 million beneficiaries in 2016 (Figure 4 and Table A1).

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  • Enrollment in local PPOs and regional PPOs increased by 0.1 million each, with 4.1 million beneficiaries in local PPOs and 1.3 million beneficiaries in regional PPOs 2016.

A key difference between an HMO and a PPO is that the latter provides enrollees with more flexibility to see providers outside of the plan’s provider network. Local PPOs, like HMOs, are required to serve areas no smaller than a county, whereas regional PPOs are required to serve areas defined by one or more states with a uniform benefit package across the service area.

  • PFFS Plans. Enrollment in PFFS plans (0.2 million) has slowly declined since MIPPA of 2008 required PFFS plans in most parts of the country to have networks of providers, and today, about 1 percent of all Medicare Advantage enrollees are in these plans. Among PFFS plan enrollees, 26 percent are in counties in which PFFS plans are exempted from network requirements

MEDICARE ADVANTAGE ENROLLMENT GROWTH BY STATE - View Table

In 2016, enrollment increased in all states in 2015, with the exception of Ohio where enrollment declined by 8 percent, in large part to the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System pulling out of the Medicare Advantage group market and ceasing to sponsor a Medicare Advantage plan (Table 1). In 9 states (DE, IA, MD, ME, MS, MT, ND, NH, and SD) and the District of Columbia, enrollment increased by more than 10 percent – double the national average – including four states (DE, IA, ND, and NH) in which enrollment increased by more than 20 percent. All of these states have Medicare Advantage penetration rates far below the national average with relatively few enrollees and their growth rates are sensitive to small changes in enrollment.

MEDICARE ADVANTAGE PENETRATION

In 23 states, at least 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare private plans, including 5 states (FL, HI, MN, OR, and PA) in which at least 40 percent of beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare private plans (Figure 6). These five states account for 21 percent of all Medicare private plan enrollees. While Medicare Advantage enrollment is increasing in many states, Medicare Advantage enrollment continues to be very low (less than 10 percent of Medicare beneficiaries) in 6 states (AK, DE, MD, NH, VT, and WY). This variation reflects the history of managed care in the state, the uneven prevalence of employer-sponsored insurance for retirees, and growth strategies pursued by various Medicare Advantage sponsors, among other factors.

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Within states, Medicare Advantage penetration varies across counties. For example, 44 percent of beneficiaries in Los Angeles County, California are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans compared to only 11 percent of beneficiaries in Santa Cruz County, California.

Premiums

Medicare Advantage enrollees are responsible for paying the Part B premium, in addition to any premium charged by the plan. The Medicare Advantage premium paid by enrollees reflects the difference between the plan’s costs of providing Part A and B benefits and any supplemental benefits offered, and the federal payment to the plan for Part A and B benefits. Plans receive a percentage of the difference between their bid and the maximum federal payment (known as a rebate) and are required to use this amount to offer extra benefits, reduce cost sharing, or reduce the Part B premium. If the plan includes the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, as most plans do, the plan may also use the rebate to reduce the Part D premium. This brief analyzes premiums for Medicare Advantage plans that offer prescription drug benefits (MA-PDs) because the vast majority (89%) of Medicare Advantage enrollees is in MA-PDs and Medicare Advantage enrollees who seek Part D prescription drug benefits are, for the most part, required to get them through their plan if the plan offers prescription drugs.

AVERAGE PREMIUM TRENDS

The average MA-PD enrollee pays a monthly premium of about $37 in 2016, about $1 per month (1%) less than in 2015 (Figure 7). 7 Actual premiums paid by enrollees vary widely, across and within counties, by plan type and other plan characteristics. Average premiums range from $28 per month for HMO enrollees to $63 per month for local PPOs and $76 per month for PFFS plan enrollees (Table A4). Since the ACA was enacted in 2010, average Medicare Advantage premiums paid by HMO enrollees and local PPO enrollees have decreased and average premiums paid by regional PPOs and PFFS enrollees have increased.

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ZERO PREMIUM PLANS

In 2016, as in prior years, most Medicare beneficiaries (81%) had a choice of at least one “zero premium” MA-PD8 plans that charge no additional premium for coverage, other than the monthly Part B premium. Between 2015 and 2016, the share of enrollees in zero premium MA-PDs remained relatively unchanged (48% in 2015 versus 49% in 2016), about the same share as in 2010 (Figure 8). Similar to prior years, a larger share of HMO enrollees is enrolled in zero premium plans (59%) than regional PPO enrollees (38%) or local PPO enrollees (22%). No zero premium PFFS plans were offered in 2015 or 2016 (Table A4).

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PREMIUM VARIATION ACROSS STATES

Comparing premiums across states is complicated by the fact that premiums reflect many factors, including the underlying costs of care in a given county relative to the national average, the level of payments to Medicare Advantage plans in the area, and firms’ strategy about whether to use plans’ rebates to offer extra benefits, reduce cost-sharing, or lower premiums. Additionally, as previously discussed, premiums vary across plan types and enrollment by plan type varies across states.

Average monthly MA-PD premiums paid per enrollee range from $7 (Florida) to $138 (Minnesota, which is mainly cost rather than risk-based plans plans), relative to the $37 per month average premium in 2016 (Figure 9).9 Average monthly premiums exceed $70 in seven states: Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota ($123; not displayed in exhibit), Pennsylvania, and Idaho. In contrast, average monthly premiums are less than $20 in seven states: Arizona, Iowa, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, Nevada, and Texas. (States with fewer than 50,000 Medicare Advantage enrollees are not displayed in the exhibit.)

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Click on the link below to read the full article.

Source: http://kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/medicare-advantage-2016-spotlight-enrollment-market-update/
Image courtesy of Freepik

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Tags: Medicare Advantage, Medicare

8 TED Talks About Work/Life Balance That'll Change the Way You Think

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Mon, May 02, 2016 @ 03:19 PM

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Everyone and their mother seems to have a strong opinion about work-life balance.

Some argue that balancing career and lifestyle is necessary for your overall happiness. Others argue that the concept of "balancing" your work and your life, which implies that the two are on par with one another, is plain old wrong. Still others argue the whole thing is completely imaginary and unrealistic, and that we're making ourselves unhappy by pursuing it in the first place.

But a lot of what we read about it in popular culture barely scratches the surface. There's a ton of cool, crazy research and science out there that's uncovered meaningful insights about work-life balance -- from how it affects our individual happiness and success to how it should affect the way companies are run.

Curious what the smartest people out there have to say about work-life balance? Check out these eight TED talks that dig in to the more unconventional and uncommonly useful advice when it comes to balancing career and lifestyle.

8 TED Talks About Work/Life Balance That'll Change the Way You Think

View videos here

Source: http://blog.hubspot.com/sales/work-life-balance-ted-talks

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2016 Medicare Supplement Conference Review

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Mon, May 02, 2016 @ 01:47 PM

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The CSG Actuarial team attended the 2016 Medicare Supplement Insurance Summit in Kansas City, MO last week. Their actuaries had the opportunity to present on the status of the Medigap market, and trends they anticipate will impact the industry. Copies of their presentations are available for download below.

The Medigap Marketplace: Where are We Today, Trends to Watch for Tomorrow 

The Medigap Marketplace 2016

Doug Feekin, ASA, MAAA Principal & Consulting Actuary

Looking Ahead to 2020: Insights from an Actuarial Perspective

2016 Med Supp Conference: Looking Ahead to 2020

Andrew Ryba FSA, MAAA and Jared Strock FSA, MAAA

As an added benefit at this year’s conference, all sessions were filmed. In the coming weeks, recordings will be available online for free to all. Be sure to visit www.medicaresupp.org to see presentation details in the program, and watch for video sessions to be posted.

Source: https://www.csgactuarial.com/2016/04/2016-medicare-supplement-conference-review/
Image courtesy of Freepik

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Medicare Supplement Market Premium Grows 5.4% to $27.1 Billion

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Tue, Apr 26, 2016 @ 08:25 AM

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CSG Actuarial has compiled information from the NAIC and other sources, and is reporting total earned premiums in the Medicare Supplement market in 2015 totaled $27.1 billion, a 5.4% increase over 2014.

A few other notes of interest:

The total Medicare Supplement lives covered in 2015 increased to almost 12.3 million, up 6.1% from 2014.

 

 

The top 10 carriers in terms of 2015 Medicare Supplement premiums were:

1.United Healthcare 2.Mutual of Omaha 3.Anthem 4.HCSC 5.Aetna 6.CNO Financial

7.BCBS of MA 8.Cigna 9.Wellmark 10.BCBS of FL

As shown below, the percentage of Medicare Supplement policyholders with Plans G and N continued to increase in 2015.

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Source: https://www.csgactuarial.com/2016/04/medicare-supplement-market-premium-grows-5-4-to-27-1-billion

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Salespeople vs. the Internet: Who Is Winning?

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Tue, Apr 19, 2016 @ 03:48 PM

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When the Internet exploded onto the scene in the late 20th century, we heard confident predictions from many experts that sales forces would soon become extinct. Buyers would no longer need (nor want) salespeople to educate and inform them — the Internet would perform these functions instead. And smart executives would not continue to employ these expensive order takers — online order forms would do that job just fine.

I guess those arguments made sense at the time, because other roles inside the corporation had already been automated or eliminated by technology. Factory workers, switchboard operators, bookkeepers, administrative pools — they’d all been replaced to some degree by automation. So it seemed completely reasonable that sales forces, too, would meet such a fate. Cost-cutting and headcount reductions would surely reach the sales team. It was just a matter of time.

Well, unfortunately for the doomsday prognosticators that hasn’t actually happened.

I was recently doing some research with the Sales Education Foundation, and I came across some interesting statistics. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1999 there were 12,938,130 workers in sales and sales-related occupations the United States. Impressively, that number represented 10.2% of the total employed workforce.

In May of 2014 (the most recent data available), the BLS asserted that there were 14,248,470 such workers employed in the U.S. or 1,310,340 more than there were 15 years earlier. This total now accounts for 10.5% of the U.S. employed — a slight increase from 1999. Not only does the data not support a doomsday scenario for sales forces, salespeople are in fact holding their own in the workforce. So why has the Internet not replaced our salespeople?

....................................................................................................................................................

“Rather than reduce the power of salespeople,
(the Internet) has made salespeople more powerful
than before.”

Jason Jordan | Partner, Vantage Point Performance

....................................................................................................................................................

Because the Internet never became a foe of the sales force. Ironically, it became one of the sales force’s dearest friends. Rather than reduce the power of salespeople, it made salespeople more powerful than before. Internet-enabled CRM allowed salespeople to sell more efficiently and effectively anywhere in the world. LinkedIn, Twitter, and other social networks gave sellers unprecedented insights about their customers and prospects. The Internet created an entire industry of sales enablement tools that never existed before. In the end, the Internet stood with the sales force, not against it.

But more fundamentally, the doomsday criers dramatically underestimated the resilience of the sales force. I would argue that sales is the most in-tune and dynamic function inside any company. It feels shifts in the landscape before other parts of the organization, and it reacts to the marketplace the best. It has the strongest motive to succeed, and it adapts to change the fastest. In retrospect, it was a little naive to think sales forces would battle technology rather than embrace it. Sales forces welcomed the Internet with open arms.

The Internet has changed our world more than other any other technology in the 21st century; however, it doesn’t look like it will replace our salespeople. Companies still need them, and customers still want them. It turns out that sales forces are more than just walking, talking brochures and order forms — they add a lot of value. So how will the relationship between the Internet and the sales force evolve over the next 15 years?  I’m not sure, but I bet it makes our sales forces even better than they are now.

Source: https://www.salesforce.com/quotable/articles/salespeople-versus-the-internet

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Federal Regulators Release Medicare Advantage Payment Increase for 2017

Posted by www.psmbrokerage.com Admin on Tue, Apr 12, 2016 @ 03:39 PM

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On April 4, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final updates to the Medicare Advantage and Part D programs for 2017.  An article from Bloomberg on the same day summarizes the impacts of the increase across the industry.

The U.S. is raising payments to the insurers by 0.85 percent on average, according to a statement Monday from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, down from the 1.35 percent boost proposed in February. Payments to individual insurers can vary, because CMS gives individual plans quality bonuses and premiums are adjusted based on where enrollees live and how sick they are.

 The smaller increase gives less of an increase to top providers of Medicare Advantage plans such as UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Humana Inc. Other publicly traded insurers that are big providers of the private Medicare plans include Aetna Inc., Centene Corp., and WellCare Health Plans Inc. The U.S. raised rates by about 1.25 percent for this year, after a cut of about 4 percent in 2015. Medicare Advantage plans are run by private health insurers, and funded and regulated by the government.

Click here to read the Bloomberg article.

Click here to read the full release from CMS.

Source: https://www.csgactuarial.com/2016/04/federal-regulators-release-medicare-advantage-payment-increase-for-2017/

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Tags: Medicare Advantage, Medicare Advantage News, CMS

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