Insurers participating in the Medicare Advantage program got a slight reprieve from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which is granting a higher rate hike for plans under final regulations issued Monday.
Although the CMS preliminary guidelines, released in February, called for a 2.3 percent per capita growth rate for 2013, the agency now will allow for a 3.07 percent growth rate next year. However, that growth rate will vary depending on each plan's county and star ratings, MedPageToday reported.
CMS said the final 2013 policies will continue to lower premiums and improve patient benefits. "These policy changes will help keep costs low and make Medicare stronger," CMS Deputy Administrator Jonathan Blum said.
The agency also maintained its new authority of terminating a Medicare Advantage plan if its rating falls below a three-star rating for three consecutive years, beginning in 2015. What's more, CMS said it will write to low-rated plans' consumers and offer assistance to help them switch to a higher-rated plan, including allowing them to sign up outside of the normal enrollment period, LifeHealthPro noted.