News Briefs: Bipartisan Bill Takes Aim at ‘Upcoding’ in Medicare Advantage
A recently introduced bipartisan bill seeks to reduce Medicare Advantage plan overpayments by eliminating financial incentives to “upcode,” or make beneficiaries appear sicker than they may be in the name of higher Medicare reimbursement. Introduced by Sens. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), the No Unreasonable Payments, Coding or Diagnoses for the Elderly (No UPCODE) Act would eliminate those incentives by: developing a risk adjustment model that uses two years of diagnostic data instead of just one year; excluding diagnoses collected from chart reviews and health risk assessments for risk adjustment purposes; and including an adjustment that fully accounts for the impact of coding pattern differences between traditional Medicare and MA.