CMS proposes 2016 payment and policy updates for Medicare Health and Drug Plans

According to a press release issued on Feb 20, 2015 by CMS, there are proposed changes for the coming year for the Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D Prescription Drug Programs that will advance Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell’s vision of building a better, smarter health care system and moving the Medicare program, and the health care system at large, toward paying providers based on the quality, rather than the quantity of care they give patients.

The Medicare Advantage and the Part D Prescription Drug programs’ enrollments and quality continue to grow and improve since the Affordable Care Act. Medicare Advantage has reached record high enrollment each year since 2010, a trend continuing in 2015 with a total increase of more than 40 percent since passage of the Affordable Care Act, and premiums have fallen by nearly 6 percent from 2010 to 2015. And, more than 90 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have access to a $0 premium Medicare Advantage plan.

This continued popularity of the program reflects a clear signal that Medicare Advantage and the Prescription Drug Program are attractive to health plans and beneficiaries alike. The proposal will continue this trend by providing fair payments to plans, rewarding high-quality care, and spending our health care dollars wisely. CMS believes these policies will minimize disruption and continue our commitment to high-quality plans, and create a stable and consistent policy environment.

The Advance Notice and draft Call Letter may be viewed through: and selecting “Announcements and Documents.” Comments on the proposed Advance Notice and Draft Call Letter are invited from the industry and the public and must be submitted by March 6, 2015. The 2016 Final Rate Announcement and Call Letter will be published on Monday, April 6, 2015.

To read the full press release, click here.