News Briefs: SCAN Wins Lawsuit Over 2024 Star Ratings Calculations

SCAN Health Plan won a legal challenge to CMS’s calculation of the 2024 Star Ratings that could have major implications for quality bonus payment (QBP) outlays and 2025 cut point generation. According to a June 3 memorandum opinion filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Judge Carl Nichols agreed with the not-for-profit Medicare Advantage insurer that CMS “failed to follow its own regulation,” which resulted in SCAN receiving an incorrect Star Rating. In a lawsuit filed against HHS in December, SCAN argued that CMS was “arbitrary and capricious” when it applied new guardrails (i.e., restricting the movement of cut points by no more than 5% in either direction) to hypothetical cut points for the previous year rather than actual cut points, yet did not amend its regulations to reflect that decision. Nichols agreed that the “best and most natural reading” of CMS’s so-called Guardrail Rule was that it referred to actual cut points in both the initial year and the following year, and he granted the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment. SCAN, which serves roughly 277,000 MA enrollees in five states, had a 4.5 Star Rating for six consecutive years until 2024, when it received a 3.5 Star Rating, costing it nearly $250 million in lost quality bonus payments. Elevance Health, Inc. in December filed a similar lawsuit; the insurer in March disclosed that CMS “updated” its original ratings, which will lead to an additional $190 million in revenue for plan year 2025. MA insurers Hometown Health Plan and Zing Health also have similar suits pending, reported Modern Healthcare.

© 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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