Pre-AEP Provider Pushback Offers ‘Reality Check’ for Medicare Advantage Plans

As the 2024 Annual Election Period approaches, Medicare Advantage insurers that began marketing on Oct. 1 have been touting service area expansions and/or the robust provider networks attached to their plans. But in the months and, in some cases, days leading up to the Oct. 15 start of open enrollment, some high-profile contract negotiations have played out in a very public way, with providers expressing their frustration with administrative delays, care denials and less-than-adequate rates. And the loss of key providers could have serious consequences from a network adequacy standpoint, even leading to an enrollment freeze if MA organizations are not careful, warns one compliance expert.

On top of concerns about overly burdensome prior authorization policies used by MA organizations, “providers are getting squeezed” from both sides, remarks Jane Scott, executive vice president of special projects for Rebellis Group. “Providers are getting squeezed on the fee-for-service, CMS side for their reduction in fee reimbursement. And then the health plans also want to reduce reimbursement for savings on their own part, while trying to stay competitive. And in doing that, they may have to reduce their service area size, their network offering, different things…and so that causes some market change.”

© 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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