Health Management Associates (HMA), in contract with The National Council on Aging (NCOA), and with support from the Administration for Community Living (ACL), recently provided research and strategy services to support the goal to increase the adoption of evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention programs, known as evidence-based programs (EBPs) by Medicaid, Medicare, and other health insurance markets.
HMA Analysis of 2021 Medicare Advantage Landscape and Mandatory Medicare Radiation Oncology and ESRD Treatment Choices Innovation Models
This week, our In Focus section reviews two recent Medicare developments from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). On September 24, 2020, CMS released the Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D landscape files for the 2021 plan year. These files include information on MA and Part D offerings, including plan types and premiums. Earlier this month, CMS also released a final rule implementing two new mandatory payment models addressing radiation oncology and end-stage renal disease (ESRD).
HMA Summary of Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS) Proposed Rules
This week, our In Focus section reviews two Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) proposed rules recently issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). On August 3, 2020, CMS released a proposed rule that includes updates to services furnished under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS). On August 4, CMS released the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System proposed rule. These proposed regulations include payment rate and policy changes for the upcoming calendar year. Key features in this year’s PFS proposed rule include: policies to retain, extend, or end certain telehealth flexibilities implemented in response to the novel COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE), changes to enable certain health care professionals to practice at the top of their licenses, modifications to opioid treatment programs (OTPs), and updates to the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). Additional information on the PFS Proposed Rule can be found here. Among the most notable policy changes in the OPPS and ASC proposed rule are: 1) transitioning services to lower cost settings by eliminating the inpatient-only list to enable more services to be provided in the outpatient settings and increasing the scope of procedures that can be provided in ASCs, 2) further reducing payments for the 340B drug program, and 3) modifying the formula for calculating Hospital Star Ratings, and expand the use of prior authorization for outpatient services. Additional information about these proposals can be found here.
Regulatory Changes to Medicare in Response to COVID-19
This week, our In Focus section examines how the federal government implemented changes to the Medicare program in response to COVID-19. As the COVID-19 pandemic began in the United States, Congress and the Administration responded with a series of legislative, regulatory, and sub-regulatory changes to the Medicare program that were designed to provide relief from certain Medicare rules to assist health care providers, Medicare Advantage organizations, and Part D plans in responding to the pandemic. Some of these changes waived conditions of Medicare participation to enable patients to be treated in alternative care settings. Others permitted physicians and other providers to receive Medicare reimbursements for telemedicine services.
HMA Information Services Adds Medicare Advantage Competitive Data, State Profiles
HMA Information Services (HMAIS) is pleased to announce the expansion of its industry-leading healthcare information website to include information and state-by-state profiles of the market for Medicare Advantage and Special Needs Plans (SNPs).
HMA Announces Cancellation of 2020 Annual Conference
Health Management Associates has made the decision to cancel its October 2020 conference on Trends in Publicly Sponsored Healthcare, given continuing developments concerning COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution for the safety of attendees, speakers, and staff. Full refunds will be made to registered attendees and sponsors.
Early Bird Registration Expires July 29 for HMA Conference, October 26-27 in Chicago
Be sure to register soon for HMA’s conference on What’s Next for Medicaid, Medicare, and Publicly Sponsored Healthcare: How Payers, Providers, and States Are Navigating a Future of Opportunity and Uncertainty, October 26-27, at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park. The Early Bird registration rate of $1595 per person expires on July 29. After that, the rate is $1795.
CMS Medicare Advantage and Section 1876 Cost Plan Network Adequacy Update
This week, our In Focus section examines new guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding Medicare Advantage (MA) plan network adequacy requirements. On June 17, 2020, CMS released updated Medicare Advantage and 1876 Cost Plan Network Adequacy Guidance for Medicare Advantage (MA) health plans to use now for Contract Year 2021 network submission.
Impact of COVID-19 Federal Policy on Medicare Advantage
This week, our In Focus section examines the operational impacts of federal Medicare Advantage policy changes in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. On January 31, 2020, the Secretary of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency. This was followed by a national emergency declared by President Trump on March 13, 2020. These declarations provide the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) authority to waive certain Medicare and Medicaid regulatory requirements to help health plans, providers, and other stakeholders respond to immediate needs of their members and communities. These waiver flexibilities, when combined with other legislative and regulatory changes issued by Congress and CMS have resulted in over 200 policy changes to Medicare alone. Many of these affect Medicare Advantage sponsors and have direct implications to current and future operations of plan responsibilities. We examine eight categories of requirements and flexibilities that have significant business relevance and exposure for Medicare Advantage plan sponsors:
Issue Brief Outlines Medicare Advantage Supplemental Benefit Flexibilities
An HMA-authored issue brief examines beneficiary access to, and plan adoption of, newly expanded Medicare Advantage (MA) supplemental benefit flexibilities and raises questions regarding the expected impacts of new supplemental benefit offerings on beneficiary satisfaction, outcomes, and total cost of care.