CMS issues Basic Health Program information for 2016
Posted by Sara Rothenberg on October 22, 2014
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed notice on how the federal government will determine payment amounts for 2016 for states that decide to establish a Basic Health Program. The Basic Health Program is a voluntary option under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which provides insurance to individuals between 133 and 200 percent of poverty through a separate program rather than having them go to the exchanges. The proposed notice says that states that establish the program will receive federal funding equal to 95 percent of the amount of premium tax credits and cost-sharing subsidies that would have otherwise been provided to those individuals for exchange plans. However, the funding does not cover states’ ongoing administrative or operational costs.
CMS issues guidance on ACA health insurance tax
Posted by Sara Rothenberg on October 9, 2014
Guidance issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) advises states that that their capitated payment rates for Medicaid managed care plans should cover the costs of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) health insurance tax, as it is considered a “reasonable business cost.” The tax starts at $8 billion in 2014 and increases every year, up to $14.3 billion in 2018. Starting in 2019, the amount of the tax will increase annually based on premium trends. CMS contends that this fee is not unlike other taxes and fees that actuaries must take into account when developing capitation rates.
OIG releases report on security of online Marketplaces
Posted by Sara Rothenberg on September 23, 2014
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducted an audit of Healthcare.gov, the online Federal Marketplace, from February to June 2014, including vulnerability scans and simulated attacks. In doing so, they found that the site’s security had been improved since last October’s launch of the insurance marketplace. However, OIG still found some vulnerabilities and the report recommended ways to further improve the site’s security, which the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) says have already been implemented.
CMS approves PA Medicaid waiver
Posted by Sara Rothenberg on August 29, 2014
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) approved Pennsylvania’s waiver application to receive matching funds under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for extending Medicaid eligibility to residents who earn up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level. Although substantially revised from the original proposal, the approved waiver creates a five-year Medicaid demonstration, entitled “Healthy Pennsylvania.” Starting in January, as many as 600,000 Pennsylvanians could be eligible for new coverage on the private market, according to Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett’s office..
CMS announces updated training program for ACA navigators
Posted by Sara Rothenberg on August 15, 2014
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a bulletin updating the Navigator, non-Navigator assistance personnel, and certified application counselor training curriculum for the Federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces in preparation for the next Open Enrollment Period beginning November 15, 2014. The expanded curriculum will include more information on immigration, household income calculations and help for specific populations, including victims of domestic abuse and college students. All assisters, whether they are seeking recertification or initial certification, will be required to complete the new training program.
CMS publishes Medicare pay final rule
Posted by Sara Rothenberg on August 5, 2014
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule revising the Medicare hospital inpatient prospective payment systems (IPPS). In adherence to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), part of the rule would effectively reduce payments to disproportionate share hospitals (DSH), which serve the most vulnerable patients. DSH payment reductions are a result of the expansion of Medicaid, however in states that chose not to expand, hospitals still risk losing some payment for uncompensated care.
CMS issues regulations on premium payment
Posted by Sara Rothenberg on July 24, 2014
The Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued Federal guidance which gives individuals a three-month grace period to pay a premium without losing coverage. However, the same guidance states that if individuals choose enroll in a new policy for 2015, insurance companies cannot apply new premiums to outstanding 2014 debt. Some have suggested that this inconsistency could allow consumers to avoid paying their December premiums. However, nothing bars an insurer from making a bona fide effort to collect any unpaid premiums, as the consumer would still owe this amount to the insurer.
CMS releases 2015 Medicare payment rules
Posted by Nikki Hurt on July 4, 2014
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued several rules concerning Medicare payments for 2015. First, CMS released the 2015 physician fee schedule. Pursuant to the “doc fix” legislation recently passed, this proposal holds physician payments for the first quarter of next year. The rule also bolsters the Physician Payment Sunshine Act by requiring providers to report payments received from speaking at continuous education events. Additionally, the proposal revises the quality scoring methodology so that accountable care organizations (ACOs) are better able to exemplify the improvements they make in quality measures. The number of metrics will increase from 33 to 37.
Yesterday, CMS also updated the payment scheme for outpatient services by 2.1% for 2015. Biologics and non-pass-through drugs are still expected to be paid at average sales price plus 6%. Payments are anticipated to increase by $5.2 billion compared to 2014.
CMS releases proposed rule on annual eligibility determinations
Posted by Nikki Hurt on June 26, 2014
A new proposed rule issued today by the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) discussed annual eligibility redetermination under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and several other enrollment standards for ACA Marketplace. CCIIO stated that nearly all of those currently enrolled in an ACA Marketplace plan will be re-enrolled unless they choose a new plan in the next open enrollment period or the plan in which they are currently enrolled is terminated. The rule proposes three methods for ACA Marketplaces to conduct annual redeterminations for enrollment. The rule also proposes standards to redetermine eligibility within a plan year and when an individual’s plan in the ACA Marketplace is not available for re-enrollment for the next plan year.
Additional guidance includes:
- Guidance on Annual Redeterminations for Coverage for 2015
- Draft Standard Notices When Discontinuing or Renewing a Product in the Small Group or Individual Market
- Instructions for Draft Standard Notices for Product Discontinuation and Renewal
CMS issues Medicare Advantage and Part D final rule for 2015
Posted by Nikki Hurt on May 21, 2014
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the final rule for Medicare Advantage (Part C) and the Medicare prescription drug benefit program (Part D) for contract year 2015. The rule aims to clarify program provisions, enact statute requirements, and improve payment accuracy. One specific provision provided in the rule said CMS will not open up preferred networks to permit any willing pharmacy to offer preferred cost-sharing. CMS indicated they would continue to study preferred cost-sharing practices to address stakeholder reactions and concerns to the proposed policy.