What Was in MedPAC’s Controversial MA Status Report?

Tensions were unusually high at a Jan. 12 meeting of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), which is preparing its annual March report to Congress on the state of Medicare Advantage, among other things. While the routine discussion of the commission’s January status report hit several familiar notes — MA is becoming increasingly popular in an industry plagued by consolidation, excessive coding is driving up program costs, and quality bonus payments don’t reflect high quality care — one commissioner called out the group’s perceived lack of neutrality as the industry prepared for CMS’s 2025 Advance Notice.

MedPAC projects that in 2024, the government will pay $88 billion more than it would pay if MA members were instead beneficiaries of fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare, continuing a trend that has proliferated in recent years. These overpayments, MedPAC analysts outlined for the commission, are driven by MA plans’ enrollment of a largely healthy risk pool, which is then subject to “coding intensity” (i.e., the higher coding patterns due to financial incentives that don’t exist in FFS Medicare).

© 2024 MMIT
Carina Belles

Carina Belles

Carina is a reporter at AIS, specializing in public sector data research, trend analysis and infographics. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Ohio University, joining AIS shortly after graduating in 2014.

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