Medicare Advantage in the headlines: 15 updates to know

Medicare Advantage open enrollment is underway, and plans are adding more services for members. Some plans have expanded geographic areas, while others have pulled out of markets. 

Here are 15 Medicare Advantage stories Becker's has covered since Oct. 26: 

  1. More MA plans will offer in-home support services to enrollees in 2023, according to a new report from the Better Medicare Alliance. A total of 794 plans will offer in-home support, and 259 plans will offer caregiver support in 2023. 

  1. UnitedHealthcare is expanding its partnership with fitness club brand Life Time, offering access to Life Time's 160 clubs to millions of MA members. 

  1. U.S. Senate Democrats are urging CMS to continue its oversight of MA marketing practices and introduce additional regulations to protect consumers from deceptive tactics. The 13 senators wrote in a Nov. 11 letter that a committe investigation and information from 15 state insurance departments revealed misleading, aggressive and sometimes deceptive marketing tactics from payers promoting their plans. 

  1. The American Medical Association called for the federal government to create a database of physicians participating in MA plans. Delegates at the association's Interim Meeting voted to adopt a policy urging plans to maintain accurate provider directories. 

  1. With a record number of MA options available in 2023, more payers are adding specialized plans, including plans aimed at addressing specific needs of veterans. Karen Bodley, vice president of Medicare at Excellus BCBS, sat down with Becker's to explain how the payer went about developing a plan tailored for veterans. 

  1. A record 3,998 MA plans are available nationwide for individual enrollment in 2023, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The nation's largest payers are expanding their offerings into hundreds more counties in 2023, according to the report. 

  1. A majority of MA plans, 57 percent, use some kind of alternative payment model, a survey from the Healthcare Payment Learning and Action Network found. Just 35 percent of commercial plans use alternative payments, the survey found. 

  1. Bright Health is ending its MA plans in Florida, leaving California as the sole state where the insurer is offering plans. 

  1. Oscar Health has largely abandoned its MA business, opting to focus on ACA exchange plans, CEO Mario Schlosser told investors on a Nov. 9 call. Mr. Schlosser said the company has exited MA markets in New York and Texas, with one plan remaining in Broward County, Fla. 

  1. AHIP pushed back on claims that MA markets are uncompetitive, calling a recent report from the American Medical Association "simply false and wrong." The AMA published a report claiming most MA and commercial insurance markets lack competition. AHIP disagreed with the AMA's conclusions, saying MA markets have become more competitive over time. 

  1. Payer CEOs told investors about the state of their MA business on third quarter earnings calls. Most predicted growth, though some payers were concerned about financial hits from decreased star ratings. 

  1. Recent reporting from The New York Times has thrust allegations of payers defrauding the government through the MA program back into the limelight. Becker's compiled the perspectives of seven healthcare leaders to understand the complexity of this issue and gain a deeper understanding of what the industry really believes is occurring.

  1. Centene CEO Sarah London told investors the company is working to improve its MA star ratings, hiring a chief quality officer and assigning executives to manage key operational and administrative programs. The quality program has also been moved under the direct oversight of the chief transformation officer.

  1. CMS is cracking down on deceptive marketing practices and will no longer allow MA or Part D prescription drug plans to advertise on television without agency approval first. The policy takes effect Jan. 1.

  2. Delaware will not implement Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield Delaware's MA plan for 2023, after a judge sided with state retirees opposed to the plan. Retiree advocacy group RiseDelaware filed a lawsuit against the state, arguing that the state's pension benefit committee did not adequately collect input from lawmakers and retirees.

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