Policy changes that include new supplemental benefits for services that improve health and quality of life also announced.CMS Administrator Seema Verma said the expansion is an example of addressing beneficiaries’ needs, while creating more treatment flexibility and ensuring consumers have more choices. A CMS press release February 1, quotes Verma:
Our priority is to ensure that our seniors have more choices and lower premiums in their Medicare health and drug plans. We are focused on addressing the specific needs of beneficiaries and providing new flexibilities for Medicare Advantage plans to offer new health-related benefits. This is a big win for patients.
In 2018, Medicare Advantage and Part D premiums decreased and the number of Medicare Advantage plans available increased from about 2,700 to more than 3,100. CMS said MA enrollment “is at an all-time high” with about one-third of all Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in a plan.
In fiscal 2019, payments to plans will rise an average of 1.84%, increasing to 3.1% when factoring in plan coding of member diagnoses.
Read more at McKnight’s Long-Term Care News
CMS also announced new action to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic through its effective oversight of programs that have successfully reduced opioid overutilization by Part D enrollees. The agency is also designing the framework of several new policies that would give health plans additional tools to better manage chronic overuse among beneficiaries by ensuring patient-doctor-plan communication regarding opioid use. Read the press release from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Get more details from the CMS issued Fact Sheet
View the 2019 Advance Notice announcement and Draft Call Letter with detailed downloads available.
Comments on the proposed Advance Notices and Draft Call Letter are invited from industry, seniors, consumer advocates, and the public and must be submitted by March 5, 2018. The 2019 Final Rate Announcement and Call Letter will be published on Monday, April 2, 2018.
CMS has previously not allowed an item or service to be eligible as a supplemental benefit if the primary purpose included daily maintenance. Under the new policy announced today, CMS would allow supplemental benefits if they compensate for physical impairments, diminish the impact of injuries or health conditions, and/or reduce avoidable emergency room utilization.