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AHIP thanks CMS for adding flexibility in 2019 Medicare Advantage and Part D rule

New proposed rule offers insurers more plan flexibility and eases regulations.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

The proposed rule released last week by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services would strengthen and improve the Medicare Advantage and Part D programs, according to Marilyn Tavenner, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans.

CMS's proposed 2019 Medicare Advantage and Part D rule offers insurers greater flexibility in reporting and makes changes to how star ratings are calculated.

Star ratings determine bonuses for insurers. Another plus for plans that have an overall 5-star rating is the ability to offer a year-round open enrollment period for Medicare Advantage.

The rule has an open enrollment period for MA plans of Jan. 1 through March 31, 2019. It allows enrolled individuals to make a one-time election to go to another plan or to original Medicare.

The proposed rule would get rid of artificial limits on the variety of plans an insurer can offer in a certain region, ease the medical loss ratio, allow for more tailored benefits and would revise regulations for maximum out-of-pocket limits, among other changes.

CMS is taking comments through January 16, 2018.

AHIP will offer detailed feedback during the formal comment period, said Tavenner, who formerly led CMS.

"These recommendations reflect a strong commitment to improving the patient experience, increasing flexibility and choice, and reducing regulation and red tape," Tavenner said. "These improvements would help health plans better serve the almost 19 million Medicare Advantage beneficiaries and more than 43 million Americans who rely on Part D."

Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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