News Briefs

✦ The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission in its latest report to Congress observed “positive trends” in Medicare Advantage benchmarks, bids and payments relative to fee for service, MedPAC Executive Director James Mathews, Ph.D., told members of the press during a March 13 call about the commission’s March report. Specifically, MedPAC estimated that Medicare payments to MA plans this year will average about 100% of fee-for-service Medicare payments, while plan bids are 88% of FFS and benchmarks are currently 107% of FFS. The commission in its annual March report also discussed the growth of Medicare reinsurance — now the largest component of Part D spending — and the use of high-cost drugs pushing enrollees into the catastrophic phase of the Part D benefit. Mathews said MedPAC is “working toward a recommendation” in its forthcoming June report that would build on its 2016 recommendation for restructuring the Part D benefit. At the same time, the commission is “staking out a direction for a revised quality measurement program” in MA that it will likely discuss in the June report. View the March report at www.medpac.gov.

✦ Alignment Healthcare earlier this month said it secured $135 million in Series C funding led by Fidelity Management & Research Co., with additional funds and accounts advised by T. Rowe Price Associates, Inc. and Durable Capital Partners L.P. This latest round brings Alignment’s total fundraising since its 2013 inception to $375 million and “will accelerate the growth of the company’s Medicare Advantage footprint while deepening its investments in its technology platform and plan offerings,” said the Orange, Calif.-based insurer. The company this year doubled the footprint of its service area and the number of plans it offers, and added supplemental benefits such as “grandkids on demand,” non-emergency transportation services provided by Uber and monthly grocery allowances. Contact Maggie Habib for Alignment at maggie@mpublicrelations.com.

© 2021 MMIT

Lauren Flynn Kelly Managing Editor, Radar on Medicare Advantage

Lauren has been covering health business issues, including drug benefits and specialty pharmacy, for more than a decade. She served as editor of Drug Benefit News (the predecessor to Radar on Drug Benefits) from 2004 to 2005 and again from 2011 to 2016, and now manages Radar on Medicare Advantage. Lauren graduated from Vassar College with a B.A. in English.

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