About the author
More posts by Trevor Bowers, RHU, REBC
Last week the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative agency of Congress, called for a cancellation of an $8.3 billion dollar Medicare Advantage bonus program. The money is going toward a three-year project intended to make quality improvements to Medicare Advantage plans and financially reward those plans that are scoring well by the Department of Health and Human Services. However, the GAO uncovered that the plan’s spending is significantly larger than all other Medicare pilots undertaken in the last 20 years. Plus, they found the majority of the money is going to plans earning only three to three-and-a-half stars, an “average plan” score.
The government’s reimbursement rate to these private plans for senior citizens would be cut dramatically in 2013 and seniors would learn about it on October 15th, about three weeks before the 2012 election under current law. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said that the bonus payment project “raises serious questions about whether the purpose of this demonstration was to mask the health spending law’s cuts to seniors’ Medicare benefits for political purposes.”
The program run by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) costs so much that it offsets much of the savings from private health plans that were included in the health care law. The program already has drawn strong doubts from members of the independent Medicare Payment Advisory Commission as well as congressional Republicans. In response, CMS officials said they would not cancel the demonstration project for Medicare Advantage plans and expressed disagreement with GAO’s findings.
For more information, click here.
Connect with Trevor on LinkedIn.
Don’t miss a post! Click here to subscribe!