Aside from a headline-grabbing estimated pay boost of nearly 8% for Medicare Advantage organizations next year, the Biden administration’s first preliminary rate notice didn’t include many surprises for MA and Part D sponsors. Instead, the notice focused largely on potential changes to star ratings in the name of advancing health equity and monitoring member experience. At the same time, the notice addressed one aspect of payments for insurers serving a large portion of patients diagnosed with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) but left another to future policymaking.
“The release of the Advance Notice, coupled with the release of the proposed rule last month, marks an important milestone in the policy and rate setting process, and really represents the first major rate notice developed entirely under the Biden administration,” said Greg Gierer, vice president of policy and research, during a Feb. 9 webinar hosted by Better Medicare Alliance (BMA). Moreover, it “provide[s] an opportunity for the admin and CMS to really shape the program as the administration looks to advance important policy work on shared goals, including advancing health equity, improving the beneficiary experience, lowering out-of-pocket costs, and improving quality of care and health outcomes.”