Blog

New Medicare Benefit: Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

This week, our In Focus section examines the new Medicare benefit for Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) treatment that includes counseling, as well as medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and related items and services. This benefit was established by Congress in the SUPPORT Act of 2018 and is now being implemented by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Medicare beneficiaries, including those dually eligible for Medicare & Medicaid, are the fastest growing group of OUD patients. Beneficiaries may access one of two types of providers: Opioid Treatment Programs (OTPs) (i.e., methadone clinics), or physicians + other health professionals. Providers offering these services will receive a bundled payment, either weekly or monthly depending on the type of provider, that can repeat as long as a patient needs treatment. Based on early guidance, Medicare Advantage (MA) plans have already created 2020 benefit packages that provide a level of access to OTP services that is “consistent with prevailing community patterns of care.”  Now that the new benefit is final, MA will need to cover both OTP & Physician OUD treatment for 2021.

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HMA Colleagues Lead Health Reproductive Care Access Study

Health Management Associates (HMA), working with the Kaiser Family Foundation, recently conducted research and completed five case studies to identify distinct challenges that low-income women face in obtaining reproductive healthcare in five diverse communities, and the key factors contributing to them.

The findings will be the centerpiece of a briefing and roundtable discussion on Thursday, Nov. 14 in Washington, D.C.

HMA colleagues, including Managing Principal Sharon Silow-Carroll, Consultant Carrie Rosenzweig, Principal Rebecca Kellenberg, and Senior Consultant Diana Rodin, contributed to the research through state policy reviews, site visits, and interviews with local stakeholders. The HMA team learned about the experiences of women living in these communities and the reproductive health professionals caring for them.

They engaged participants from various demographics, including populations with historically greater health inequities such as low-income women, African Americans, Native Americans, immigrants, and refugees. Research was conducted in Dallas County (Selma), Alabama; Tulare County, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Crow Tribal Reservation, Montana; and Erie County, Pennsylvania. The selected regions represent urban and rural areas, including regions with limited healthcare resources due to closure and consolidation of family planning providers and hospitals.

The final study and five case studies will be published following the briefing and roundtable discussion.

Indiana Releases Hoosier Care Connect Managed Care RFP

This week, our In Focus section reviews the Indiana Hoosier Care Connect request for proposals (RFP), issued by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), Office of Medicaid Policy and Planning (OMPP) on October 18, 2019. Hoosier Care Connect is the state’s Medicaid managed care program for approximately 90,000 aged, blind, and disabled (ABD) Medicaid beneficiaries. Implementation is expected April 1, 2021, with contracts worth $1.4 billion annually.

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2020 Medicare Advantage, Part D Landscape Files and Quality Performance Data

This week, our In Focus reviews the Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D landscape files and quality performance data for the 2020 plan year from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Data on MA and Part D offerings include premiums and benefit design, as well as Star Ratings for each MA contract. This year’s release signals continued growth for the MA program in 2020. The total number of MA plans increased by 403 offerings to 3,144, up from 2,741 in 2019, the highest number since inception of the program. Notably, growth appears to be occurring in parts of the country with existing market saturation, as many MA organizations are offering new plans in states with MA enrollment levels of 30 percent or higher. There is also significant growth in the number of Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs) offered by MA organizations, particularly among top MA sponsors Humana and CVS (Aetna).

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Highlights from Kaiser/HMA 50-State Medicaid Director Survey

This week, our In Focus section reviews highlights and shares key takeaways from the 19th annual Medicaid Budget Survey conducted by The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and Health Management Associates (HMA). Survey results were released on October 18, 2019, in two new reports: A View from the States: Key Medicaid Policy Changes: Results from a 50-State Medicaid Budget Survey for State Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020 and Medicaid Enrollment & Spending Growth: FY 2019 & 2020. The report was prepared by Kathleen Giff­ord and Aimee Lashbrook from HMA; Eileen Ellis and Mike Nardone; and by Elizabeth Hinton, Robin Rudowitz, Maria Diaz, and Marina Tian from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The survey was conducted in collaboration with the National Association of Medicaid Directors.

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Pennsylvania Releases HealthChoices Physical Health RFA

This week, our In Focus section reviews the Pennsylvania HealthChoices Physical Health Medicaid managed care request for applications (RFA), issued by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services on October 15, 2019. Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) will serve the five HealthChoices zones covering all 67 counties: Southeast, Southwest, Lehigh-Capital, Northwest, and Northeast. Contracts are worth nearly $13 billion.

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Utah Releases Medicaid Expansion Fall Back Plan Waiver Amendment

This week, our In Focus section reviews the Utah Medicaid Section 1115 Demonstration Waiver amendment Fallback Plan, released for public comment on September 27, 2019. The Fallback Plan would raise Utah’s Medicaid expansion income limit to 138 percent of the federal poverty level (FPL)[1]. Voters in the state passed full Medicaid expansion through a ballot initiative in 2018, however, the state only enacted partial expansion through a waiver. The Fallback Plan looks to fully expand Medicaid, while also implementing certain provisions, including work requirements and premiums.

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Medicaid Managed Care Enrollment Update – Q2 2019

This week, our In Focus section reviews recent Medicaid enrollment trends in capitated, risk-based managed care in 29 states.[1] Many state Medicaid agencies post monthly enrollment figures by health plan for their Medicaid managed care population to their websites. This data allows for the timeliest analysis of enrollment trends across states and managed care organizations. All 29 states highlighted in this review have released monthly Medicaid managed care enrollment data into the second quarter (Q2) of 2019. This report reflects the most recent data posted. HMA has made the following observations related to the enrollment data shown on Table 1 (below):

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Preliminary Insights on 2020 Medicare Advantage and Part D Plan Offerings

This week, our In Focus section reviews the Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D landscape files for the 2020 plan year released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on September 24, 2019. These files include information on MA and Part D offerings, including premiums and benefit design. This year’s release signals continued growth for the MA program in 2020. Nationwide, the number of MA plans continues to increase, with 3,144 offerings, up from 2,741 in 2019.  Among these plans, 2,832 will offer Part D coverage. CMS states that the average monthly plan premium is expected to decrease 14 percent to $23.00 in 2020 down from $26.87 in 2019. According to CMS, this is the lowest average monthly premium since 2007.

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