CMS, the Medicare agency, today proposed additional cuts to 2015 Medicare Advantage payment rates on top of the six percent cut the program faced last year. While we continue to review the notice to determine the total impact on payment rates, below is a statement from AHIP President and CEO Karen Ignagni on the impact another round of payment cuts will have on the millions of seniors that rely on Medicare Advantage:
“The new proposed Medicare Advantage cuts would cause seniors in the program to lose benefits and choices on which they depend. Last year’s six percent cut to Medicare Advantage rates resulted in higher premiums, reduced benefits, fewer coverage options, and loss of provider choices for seniors. Another round of payment cuts would be devastating to the more than 15 million seniors and people with disabilities that have chosen to enroll in Medicare Advantage for the better benefits and higher quality coverage these plans provide.
“A bipartisan group of 40 senators recently sent a letter urging CMS to ‘maintain payment levels that will allow MA beneficiaries to be protected from disruptive changes in 2015.’ Moreover, a broad array of organizations – representing employers, providers, consumers, and health care stakeholders – also sent letters urging the agency to keep rates flat to protect seniors from further harm. As 2015 payment rates are finalized, we urge the Medicare agency to protect seniors from facing higher costs and fewer benefits by keeping Medicare Advantage payment rates flat.”
NOTE: There are a number of factors that impact total Medicare Advantage payment rates. The growth rate percentage included in the rate notice is only one factor and does not represent what the total cut will be when other factors are included. In fact, there is no single number in the rate notice that represents the cumulative impact on rates.