On Monday the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services scrapped the proposed 2.2 percent cut to Medicare Advantage plans. America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) was against the decrease all along, launching a campaign lobbying against it which included television ads, studies defending Medicare Advantage, and a letter-writing campaign with members of Congress. AHIP argued that seniors and those with disabilities enrolled in these plans would face higher premiums, reduced benefits and some loss of coverage options if these cuts were put into effect.
Instead, the Medicare agency announced that it would offer a 3.3 percent payment increase for next year. Jonathan Blum, CMS acting principal deputy administrator explained, "The policies announced today further the agency’s goal of improving payment accuracy in all our programs, while at the same time ensuring program stability and preserving beneficiary choice."
AHIP praised the agency for avoiding what it termed a "crushing blow" to Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. President and CEO of AHIP, Karen Ignagni, stated "CMS has taken an important step to help stabilize Medicare Advantage at a time when the program is facing significant challenges." She continued by saying that AHIP will continue to work with policymakers in both parties "to strengthen this critically important part of Medicare that provides high-quality, affordable coverage to more than 14 million seniors and people with disabilities."
This change is seen as a huge victory for health insurance lobbyists who worked very hard to reverse these potentially devastating cuts. However this is hardly the end of the Medicare Advantage trial. Medicare Advantage plans are still on the road to several major long-term alterations in the next few years. We will just have to wait and see which ones actually go into effect.
Please give us your feedback!
Does this reversal suprise you? OR did you figure their cuts wouldn't go through? What do you think is next for Medicare Advantage?
Source: Benefitspro.com, National Review
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