Medicare rate paid to insurers set for a slight increase

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will increase by four-tenths of a percentage point the rates it pays insurers for Medicare Advantage and the Part D prescription drug benefit programs in 2015, officials said Monday.

The announcement should ease concerns raised in February when it was first estimated that the agency would cut its rates by 1.9 percent and perhaps trigger a significant increase in premiums for Medicare Advantage enrollees.

Jonathan Blum, principal deputy administrator at CMS, said changes in risk projections and delaying the phase-in risk adjustment models allowed for improved rate.

With the announced final rates, he said he expects “continued modest premium growth” for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries in 2015 when plan details are made public next fall.

There were proponents for the larger cuts, including the nonpartisan Center for Medicare Advocacy in Washington, D.C., which said the move would bring Medicare Advantage rates more in line with rates paid for traditional Medicare.

About 900,000 Pennsylvanians are enrolled in one of the popular Medicare Advantage plans, including about half of all Medicare beneficiaries in Allegheny County.

Steve Twedt: or 412-263-1963.

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