Insurers ready to push back against another round of MA cuts

Insurers are readying efforts to fight back against another round of Medicare Advantage cuts that are expected to come next month. But the campaign to keep Medicare Advantage payments stable may be harder than last year due to the post-midterm election political environment, The Hill reported.

The Obama administration has told private insurers that it will seek to lower Medicare Advantage payments to bring per-capita spending on the private program more in line with traditional Medicare, reported Forbes.

That means that Medicare Advantage insurers could see their rates go from a higher-than-requested increase, which the Obama administration afforded them last year, to a 2 percent decrease this year, as FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

If the cuts proceed as planned, Humana will likely be the insurer that's hardest hit. Humana has about 2.5 million Medicare Advantage members, and its Medicare business accounts for 70 percent of its revenue, Forbes noted.

To prevent any payment reductions, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) is preparing a widespread campaign, including solidifying its relationships with new members of Congress voted in during last year's November elections. AHIP is planning as many as 15 meetings to woo incoming freshman Congressmen, who the lobbying group hope will use media appearances and letter campaigns to urge the Obama administration against any cuts.

But AHIP's job may prove harder than last year, when it successfully pressured the Obama administration to increase Medicare Advantage payments, largely because of the new political landscape since the midterm elections and Republicans' increasingly conservative agenda that opposes many of AHIP's lobbying efforts, noted The Hill.

The proposed cuts would come at a time when Medicare Advantage is becoming increasingly popular among seniors who are already enrolled in Medicare, The Hill reported in a second article, adding that Medicare Advantage enrollment is expected to hit an all-time high in 2015.

To learn more:
- read the first The Hill article
- see the Forbes article
- read the second The Hill article