CMS Finalizes Medicare Advantage for 2017

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has finalized payment rates for Medicare Advantage private insurance plans. The Advantage program allows beneficiaries to obtain Medicare policies from private companies, which are then reimbursed by the federal government. Payments will increase by an average of 0.85 percent – compared with the 1.35 percent increase the government proposed in February.

In a press release, Sean Cavanaugh, deputy administrator at CMS, said the Medicare Advantage insurers would likely see an overall revenue increase of about 3.05 percent (compared with the earlier proposal of 3.55%).

CMS will not immediately enforce all of the cuts to employer-based Medicare Advantage plans, but will phase in the new policies over two years.

Other changes include a method to identify beneficiaries at risk of overusing opioids before a prescription is dispensed, in an effort to tackle painkiller abuse.

Source: CMS press release, April 4, 2016.