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CMS Proposes Payment and Policy Updates for 2014

Suggested changes will increase value and protection for beneficiaries

THURSDAY, Feb. 21 (HealthDay News) -- Payment and policy updates have been proposed for 2014, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Advanced Notice and draft Call Letter published Feb. 15.

The Advanced Notice and draft Call Letter suggests changes to increase value and protection for beneficiaries. Some of the proposals include lower out of-pocket drug spending, with lower co-payments and a lower deductible for Part D prescription drug spending in 2014 compared with 2013. Coverage for Medicare beneficiaries in the Part D Prescription drug coverage "donut hole" will continue to increase in 2014. In addition, CMS proposes to provide greater protection for beneficiaries, requiring enrollees to consent prior to each delivery of prescription medications, and to protect Medicare Advantage enrollees from significant increases in costs or cuts in benefits. In order to improve coordination of care, CMS urges plans to broaden their target enrollee population for medication therapy management. In an additional proposed rule, greater accountability and transparency would be promoted by the Affordable Care Act's medical loss ratio requirements for beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage and Prescription Drug plans.

Comments on the proposed Advanced Notice and draft Call Letter are invited and should be submitted by March 1, 2013. The final 2014 Rate Announcement and Call Letter will be published on April 1, 2013.

"The Affordable Care Act helps us strengthen Medicare Advantage and Part D," Jonathan Blum, CMS activity principal deputy administrator, said in a statement. "We are working to ensure that people with Medicare have affordable access to health and drug plans, while making certain that plans are providing value to Medicare and taxpayers."

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Physician's Briefing