CMS won't cut Medicare Advantage rates; instead raises them by 3%

Medicare Advantage insurers learned this week that not only is the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services not cutting their payment rates, but it's actually increasing them by 3 percent, according to an agency statement.

After CMS proposed in February to reduce payments by 2.2 percent, insurers said they could lose a total of $11 billion. So America's Health Insurance Plans launched an intense and widespread campaign urging the government to drop its proposed cuts. AHIP's lobbying efforts, which included TV ads and new social media websites, garnered support from more than 160 members of Congress and about 40,000 Medicare Advantage members.

CMS reversed course after it agreed that Congress likely will block cuts to doctors' Medicare payments instead of assuming that those reductions will take effect, reported The Hill's Healthwatch.

AHIP called the move an "important step to help stabilize Medicare Advantage at a time when the program is facing significant challenges," AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni said in a statement.

"I think what CMS did here was to buy stability for the program," Dan Mendelson, president of Avalere Health, told the Associated Press. "Most beneficiaries will not see dramatic changes going forward into next year."

To learn more:
- here's the CMS statement and AHIP statement
- read The Hill's Healthwatch article
- see the Associated Press article

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