In a story that was picked up by most major news publications, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final 2014 payments rates for Medicare Advantage plans this week. Fortunately for Medicare beneficiaries who rely on Medicare Advantage for affordable health insurance coverage, CMS factored in a positive 3.3% growth rate for the plans (thus, increasing funding), rather than the anticipated negative 2.2% adjustment that had been publicized severals months back.
America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) President and CEO Karen Ignani released the following statement in response to the announcement:
“By being responsive to the more than 160 members of Congress from both parties who raised concerns about the impact of the proposed payment rate on seniors, CMS has taken an important step to help stabilize Medicare Advantage at a time when the program is facing significant challenges. We are currently reviewing the final rate announcement and will continue to work with policymakers in both parties to strengthen this critically important part of Medicare that provides high-quality, affordable coverage to more than 14 million seniors and people with disabilities.”
At The Advocator Group, we work mainly with disabled Medicare beneficiaries who are under the age of 65 and living on the fixed income provided by Social Security Disability Insurance benefits. For these individuals, Medicare Advantage represents the most cost-efficient and accessible type of plan. In fact, about 90% of our clients decide to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans over other options available to them. That being the case, any changes to the Medicare Advantage program are of significant interest to us, as well as to our clients.
While the Affordable Care Act still includes provisions that make major changes to how Medicare Advantage plans are funded, it appears that the plans, and more importantly the beneficiaries who rely on them, are safe… for now.