AHIP has 'serious concerns' about changes to MA star ratings

AHIP, the trade association representing the insurance industry, is opposed to some of CMS' proposed changes to the Medicare Advantage star ratings program. 

In a comment letter submitted to CMS Feb. 13, the association said CMS' proposed changes would not improve plan quality but could reduce benefits or increase premiums. 

The association wrote it has "serious concerns" about several parts of the proposed rule, especially the elimination of the reward factor, a measure that gives a boost in ratings to plans performing consistently across quality measures. 

"The overall impacts of the Star Ratings proposals would be higher premiums and/or reduced benefits for enrollees, impacts that would disproportionately affect seniors and people with disabilities in underserved communities without increasing quality," AHIP said in its comments. 

AHIP said the association is supportive of provisions to add health equity measures to star ratings, but said its implementation should be delayed past 2024 to allow the new ratings system to be pilot tested for at least one year. 

The association also supports CMS' proposal to reduce the weight of patient experience and complaints in the ratings. 

The star ratings system scores Medicare Advantage plans on 38 quality measures. Plans rated four stars and higher receive quality bonus payments from CMS. 

CMS' proposed changes to the star ratings are part of a sweeping proposed rule issued in December that would address prior authorization, marketing regulations and other changes for MA and Part D plans. 

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