Forbes: In Medicare Trust, Obamacare Scores Higher Ratings
Privately-run health insurance companies that contract with Medicare are scoring higher in a government-backed quality rating system designed to guide seniors to better medical care choices and service, the Obama administration announced Friday. The so-called "Medicare Advantage Plans" are performing better with more of them hitting four- and five-star ratings on the five-star scale, said U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius and officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The system will allow them to market their ratings and next year get bonus payments from the federal government ranging from 3 to 5 percentage points (Japson, 10/12).
MarketWatch: Medicare Open-Enrollment: Find The Right Drug Plan
Medicare's open-enrollment period, when the 49 million Americans who use the program can make changes to their 2013 coverage, starts on Monday and runs through Dec. 7. And this time around, experts say the stakes are greater than in previous years – particularly for retirees who rely heavily on prescription drugs. Higher premiums in certain plans, as well as changes to their coverage, could lead to significantly higher out-of-pocket costs for some beneficiaries who stick with their current option (Marte, 10/13).
The Columbus Dispatch: Medicare Will Prod Users To From Low-Rated Advantage Plans
The federal government said yesterday that it will become more aggressive about moving people off poorly performing Medicare plans and onto higher-scoring ones. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said they will mail letters to people enrolled in 26 poorly rated plans nationwide -; plans that have received 2.5 or fewer stars on a 5-star scale for the past three years. The letters will encourage those people to enroll in plans that score better on the government measures of patient health outcomes and satisfaction (Sutherly, 10/13).
Modern Healthcare: AHIP Cheers Release Of Medicare Health, Drug Plan Ratings
The quality ratings are based on a scale of one to five, with five reflecting "excellent" performance. Starting next year, people with Medicare will have access to 127 Medicare Advantage plans that earned either a four or five-star rating and currently serve 37% of Medicare Advantage enrollees, up from 106 plans in 2012 that served 28% of enrollees, according to the new statistics from HHS. Meanwhile, people with Medicare next year will have access to 26 prescription drug plans with four- or five-star ratings that serve about 18% of enrollees, compared with 13 plans that received those ratings and served 9% of enrollees in 2012 (Zigmond, 10/12).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.