MA Benefit Innovation May Slow Down Amid 2024 Rate Uncertainty

As Medicare Advantage organizations prepare for the next bid cycle, each year seems to bring its own set of factors that threaten their ability to stay competitive amid potential cost increases. For the 2023 plan year, the expiration of COVID-related adjustments and expected decline in quality bonus payments had plans considering modest benefit enhancements. For the 2024 plan year, maintaining stable benefits and premiums amid anticipated rate cuts and uncertainty around Medicare Part D trends is the name of the game, according to actuaries who helped plans submit bids that were due on June 5.

After proposing substantial revisions to the CMS-Hierarchical Condition Categories (HCC) risk adjustment model that insurers argued would result in rate reductions, CMS on April 3 opted to phase in the changes starting with 2024. CMS at the time estimated that plans would, on average, see a 3.32% increase in risk adjusted revenue, although that will vary broadly by plan. CMS also estimated the combined impact of the risk model revision and fee-for-service normalization could reduce payments by 2.16%. However, given that the agency will apply a blended method to calculate risk scores next year, plans could see a 4.44% overall risk score trend.

© 2024 MMIT
Lauren Flynn Kelly

Lauren Flynn Kelly Managing Editor, Radar on Medicare Advantage

Lauren has been covering health business issues since the early 2000s and specializes in in-depth reporting on Medicare Advantage, managed Medicaid and Medicare Part D. She also possesses a deep understanding of the complex world of pharmacy benefit management, having written AIS Health’s Radar on Drug Benefits from 2004 to 2005 and again from 2011 to 2016. In addition to her role as managing editor of Radar on Medicare Advantage, she oversees AIS Health’s publications and manages the health editorial staff. She graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in English.

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