CMS Says 33 Plans Either Exiting Medicare+Choice or Scaling Back Services Next Year
CMS officials announced yesterday that 33 health plans will either exit or "reduc[e] their service areas" under the Medicare managed care program next year, meaning that nearly 200,000 beneficiaries will need to find an alternate plan or return to traditional fee-for-service Medicare, the AP/Las Vegas Sun reports. The "not unexpected" news follows similar data in a survey released earlier this month by the American Association of Health Plans. The AP/Sun reports that the health plans said they are leaving the program because of what they called low reimbursements from the federal government. Nine health plans have told the federal government that they will leave the program, and 24 plans said they will reduce their service areas, according to CMS Administrator Tom Scully. He said that the number of health plans leaving M+C next year is fewer than the number that left in the previous two years. Scully added, "We are disappointed to hear about any beneficiaries losing a health plan option, but the results are far better than expected." He called on lawmakers to approve legislation to bolster funds for M+C plans, saying that without additional funding, "even more seniors and disabled Americans will continue to lose their existing prescription drugs and other medical services," the AP/Sun reports. Beneficiaries affected by the changes will receive a letter by Oct. 2 detailing coverage options, including other managed care plans or traditional Medicare (Carter, AP/Las Vegas Sun, 9/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.