On April 4, 2024, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued the contract year 2025 (CY2025) Medicare Advantage and Part D final rule (the “Final Rule”). In addition to finalizing its CY2025 proposed rule, CMS also addressed several key provisions that remained from the CY2024 proposed rule. According to CMS’ Fact Sheet, the Final Rule builds on existing Biden-Harris Administration policies to strengthen protections and guardrails, promote healthy competition, and ensure Medicare Advantage and Part D plans best meet the needs of enrollees. The Final Rule also promotes access to behavioral health care providers, promote equity in coverage, and improve supplemental benefits.Continue Reading CMS Issues CY2025 Medicare Advantage and Part D Final Rule

On March 28, 2024, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced that it is extending the temporary special enrollment period (the Unwinding SEP) for prior beneficiaries of Medicaid and Medicaid-expansion Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace (Marketplace). The Unwinding SEP was previously scheduled to terminate on July 31, 2024, but now the end date is extended to November 30, 2024. This 4-month extension will help millions maintain insurance coverage as they navigate their new post-pandemic eligibility statuses.Continue Reading Continuity in Coverage: CMS Extends the Unwinding SEP & Issues Final Rule for Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment

On November 6, 2023, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released the contract year 2025 proposed rule for Medicare Advantage (“MA”) organizations and Part D sponsors (the “Proposed Rule”). The Proposed Rule covers an array of regulatory topics including the Star Ratings program, marketing and communications, agent and broker compensation, health equity, dual eligible special needs plans (“D-SNPs”), utilization management, network adequacy, and access to biosimilars.Continue Reading CMS Promotes Competition, Transparency, Health Equity and More in the CY2025 Medicare Advantage and Part D Proposed Rule

As individuals continue to live longer beyond retirement and the U.S. population size of those 65 years and older continues to increase, the demand for long-term services and supports (“LTSS”) is also expected to increase.[1] LTSS represents the wide-ranging health and social services that individuals require over an extended period of time, including assistive services.[2] The increasing demand for these services will also likely proportionally increase health care expenditures of LTSS. According to the Congressional Research Service, which analyzed data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) National Health Expenditure Accounts (“NHEA”) on the personal health expenditures for LTSS by payer, in 2021, an estimated $467.4 billion was spent on LTSS. This represents 13.2% of the $3.6 trillion spent on personal health care.[3] Notably, the first and second largest payers of LTSS are Medicaid and Medicare, respectively, accounting for 64.1% of all LTSS spending nationwide in 2021.[4] Absent public LTSS funding, individuals must rely on private funding, and in 2021, private sources accounted for just 28.6% of LTSS spending.[5]Continue Reading The PACE Solution to Increasing Demands for Long-Term Services and Supports in the U.S.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released the final rule on risk adjustment data validation (“RADV”) audits of Medicare Advantage (“MA”) organizations (the “Final Rule”) on January 30, 2023. Among other changes, this Final Rule will allow CMS to audit a sample of an MA organization’s (“MAO”) diagnoses reported for risk adjustment purposes (from 2018 and later) and then use the audit findings to calculate an extrapolated improper payment amount for the MAO’s contract. This extrapolation technique is controversial for a number of reasons, including whether CMS has the authority to use it in the manner proposed in the Final Rule, and whether it is an actuarially sound method of auditing. As we predicted in February, this Final Rule is now being challenged in court.Continue Reading Medicare Advantage RADV Audit Final Rule Challenged in Court

On July 13, 2023, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued its proposed rule (the “Proposed Rule”) for the 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (“PFS”). The Proposed Rule, which was issued in the Federal Register on August 7, 2023,  includes updated payment rates, changes to reimbursement for services related to health equity and social determinants of health, increases to payment for cancer care support, and changes to enrollment for mental health providers. CMS projects that the Proposed Rule will lead to growth in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (“MSSP”).Continue Reading CMS Announces Proposed Rule for 2024 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule

On Friday, August 26, 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”), the Department of Labor’s Employee Benefits Security Administration and the Department of Treasury’s Internal Revenue Service (the “Departments”) published a final rule updating key regulations pertaining to the No Surprises Act (the “Final Rule”). The Final Rule changes requirements promulgated through prior interim final rules[i] to conform with two rulings by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.[ii] The Final Rule addresses specific disclosure requirements for group health plans and health insurance issuers related to the Qualified Payment Amount (“QPA”) for out-of-network (“OON”) services and sets forth the factors and information which certified Federal Independent Dispute Resolution (“IDR”) entities must consider in arbitrating disputes for OON services or items.Continue Reading Final Rule Changes No Surprises Act Requirements

On January 5, 2022, we discussed the Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2023 proposed rule released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). On April 28, 2022, CMS issued the NBPP 2023 Final Rule. CMS published a Fact Sheet and other resources on April 28, 2022. The rule will take effect on January 1, 2023, but the optional early bird application deadline is May 18, 2022 and the final deadline for issuers to submit changes to their QHP Application is August 17, 2022.
Continue Reading 2023 Payment Rule’s Nondiscrimination Provisions and Anticipation of New Section 1557 Rules

On April 29, 2022, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”), issued the final rule on Contract Year 2023 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Programs (the “Final Rule”).  CMS promotes the Final Rule as advancing “CMS’ strategic vision of expanding access to affordable health care and improving health equity in Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D through lower out-of-pocket prescription drug costs and improved consumer protections.”  With a few exceptions, the Final Rule is a wholesale codification of the proposed rule. Except as noted below, the requirements of the Final Rule are effective January 1, 2024.
Continue Reading CMS Issues Contract Year 2023 Final Rule for Medicare Advantage Organizations and Prescription Drug Sponsors

On April 1, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced states may seek to extend Medicaid postpartum coverage from 60 days to one year through a new state plan option offered by the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”). The new state plan option allows state Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (“CHIP”) agencies to provide 12 months of continuous postpartum coverage, regardless of any changes in circumstances, through a state plan amendment (“SPA”). This option is available for five years and ends on March 31, 2027.
Continue Reading CMS Begins Option to Extend Medicaid Postpartum Coverage

On February 24, 2022, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its redesign of the Global and Professional Direct Contracting Model (GPDC), which now will be called the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Realizing Equity, Access, and Community Health (REACH) Model.
Continue Reading “REACHing” For Health Equity: CMS Revamps The Global And Professional Direct Contracting Model