California system latest to side-eye Medicare Advantage

San Diego-based Scripps Health is the latest health system weighing the costs and benefits of Medicare Advantage, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Aug. 21. 

According to the report, two of the system's medical groups — Scripps Coastal Medical Center and Scripps Clinic — notified Medicare Advantage insurers in the area they intended to terminate their contracts in January. 

The system is still open to negotiating new contracts with the six Medicare Advantage plans it currently accepts, according to the Union-Tribune. 

Sachin Jain, MD, CEO of the SCAN Group, one of the payers contracted with Scripps, said the system may walk back their plan to leave Medicare Advantage entirely. 

"We received a clear indication from Scripps that they were leaving the Medicare Advantage business, but it seems, more recently, that there may be a softening of that position," Dr. Jain said. 

A spokesperson for Scripps Health told the Union-Tribune healthcare costs are rising, and reimbursements from payers are not keeping up. 

"Because the discussions with plans are ongoing, we are limited in what we can say," the spokesperson said Aug. 9. 

Other systems have also said they are considering dropping Medicare Advantage insurers entirely in recent weeks. 

Brookings (S.D.) Health System will no longer be in network with any Medicare Advantage plans in 2024, the Brookings Register reported Aug. 7. The 49-bed, municipally owned hospital said the decision was made to protect the financial sustainability of the organization. 

Bend, Ore.-based St. Charles Health System is considering dropping all Medicare Advantage plans but is also encouraging its senior patients not to enroll in the private Medicare plans during the next open enrollment period.

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