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Topic: Performance Optimization
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Advance Notice and Call Letter included additional reminders to plans about managing Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMBs). A QMB is a dual-eligible beneficiary who does not have full Medicaid. Instead, that individual has Medicare cost-sharing subsidies by the state Medicaid program for Part A and B covered deductibles and coinsurances. When a QMB member is part of a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan, it becomes the MA plan’s responsibility to ensure providers do not balance bill the member for the plan deductibles and cost sharing for Medicare-covered services provided by the MA plan.
On February 1, 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its 2019 Advance Rate Notice (Part II) and Draft Call Letter. CMS estimates an expected increase of 1.84% to payments in 2019. CMS says its estimates do not reflect underlying coding trend, which it expects to increase risk scores by 3.1% in 2019.
I fly often, and it gives me comfort knowing my pilot completes a pre-flight checklist. I often see the pilot out on the tarmac walking around the plane giving it a quick inspection. It is a demonstration he/she takes our safety seriously.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) timeliness monitoring is currently underway at organizations with active contracts in 2017 and 2018, with a few exclusions, such as Medicare-Medicaid Plans and organizations that underwent a program audit in 2017 and did not have any invalid data submissions in key audit areas. Is your organization excluded? See the Health Plan Management System memo dated December 12, 2017. If I had a nickel for every time someone referred to this activity as a timeliness audit, I’d have quite a pile of nickels. While it is not an audit, it sure feels like one as the validation activity is the same.
As 2018 and Year 2 of the chaotic Trump Administration kick off, trying to predict what will happen in Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act is as challenging as ever. It’s a midterm election year with terrible headwinds for the GOP, so the legislative calendar is abbreviated, and partisan rancor will peak. That makes it less likely Republicans will get to do much damage but also more likely they will try to serve up red meat for their base, like a return to “repeal and replace.” Congressional leaders, fresh off their billionaire bailout tax bill, are already talking about taking up “reform” (aka cuts) of Medicare and Medicaid and other social welfare programs. The only thing that is certain is 2018 will be another battleground year for government health programs.
When you think of the ideal strategic partner, what words come to mind to describe them? For me, those terms are honesty, integrity, value-add, vision, and an understanding of my needs. These are the same things that members are expecting from us when they choose our health plan to provide their health insurance. As we start 2018, all of our staff have the opportunity to prove our commitment and demonstrate our health plan’s core values to enhance our members’ experiences. As you enter into 2018, here are some reminders of critical components to support your members in 2018. Read more
It’s the Annual Election Period (AEP) for Medicare Advantage (MA), and like many health plans, those of us in the industry are often busy. Family members on Medicare are often asking about changes or concerns about their health plan. When I checked in with my father, he indicated he needed to change his MA plan because he owed a $36,000 hospital bill he felt should be covered by his health plan. I thought he was confused until I saw his Explanation of Benefits (EOB), and it did have a $36,000 denial for a hospitalization. The denial message indicated, “You may owe this amount. You will be billed by your provider.”