The federal government announced a broad array of changes to Medicare Advantage plans last week in hopes it will further pressure providers to up their game in caring for seniors.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services officials said Friday that those “innovations” will include everything from customizing plans based on beneficiaries’ chronic conditions and socioeconomic status to increasing access to telehealth services. It also wants to up plans’ incentives for seniors to improve their health.
CMS Administrator Seema Verma said Medicare Advantage was launched 13 years ago, and was due for a facelift. The new Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation model will ideally spur greater competition among plans, while also “creating pressure to improve quality and lower costs in order to attract beneficiaries,” she said in a statement.
“Today’s announcements are prime examples of how CMMI can test policies to modernize CMS programs and ensure that our seniors can access the latest benefits,” Verma said.
The changes will be tested out as part of the Value Based Insurance Design model for 2020. Eligible plans in all 50 states will be able to apply for the innovations, according to a CMS fact sheet. Starting in 2021, they’ll also start testing the inclusion of hospice benefits as part of Medicare Advantage. CMS said it’s also planning to extend the performance period of its VBID model another three years, to 2024, to sufficiently evaluate the impact of these changes.