Today’s Hot Topics in Medicare News

Consumer Satisfaction in Medicare Advantage Plans Rising

BY NICHOLAS HAMM: As Medicare Advantage plans grow in popularity, consumers are slowly becoming more satisfied with them—but more work is needed, especially when it comes to communications.

That’s according to a recent study from J.D. Power on customer satisfaction in Medicare Advantage plans. The annual Medicare Advantage study, now in its fifth year, found that customer satisfaction is up slightly in 2019—up one point on its 1,000-point scale to 795 this year. (read more)

‘Medicare for all’ is ‘crazy’: former Apple CEO John Sculley

BY BRIAN SOZZI: Count former Apple CEO John Sculley among the many not in favor of the radical “Medicare for all” scheme being pushed by many Democratic presidential hopefuls.

“I don’t picture any realistic outcome where there isn’t private insurance, it would be crazy. The system works,” Sculley said on Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade. “The system may well require significant changes to private health insurance as time goes on due to rising chronic care patients. But the reality is that ‘Medicare for all’ is just total political hype — there is no way it could be implemented into anything that could be sustained by the economy.” (read more)

Most hospices violated Medicare safety requirements over 5-year period

BY MARIA CASTELLUCCI: The vast majority of U.S. hospice providers violated at least one safety requirement for Medicare participation over the span of five years, according to new reports from HHS’ Office of Inspector General.

The two reports, published Tuesday, found that 87% of 4,563 hospices were cited for at least one deficiency for Medicare participation from 2012 through 2016. Additionally, the OIG found the number of hospices that had severe complaints filed against them more than tripled over the same period. (read more)

Welltok Reduces Medicare Disenrollment by 30% with Data-Driven Communications

BY PR NEWSWIRE: Medicare Retention Solution Pairs Social Determinants of Health and Machine Learning to Keep Members Coming Back

The average Medicare Advantage plan turns over about 10% of its members every year, and for a 100,000 member plan, that can equate to about $110 million in lost premium reimbursements as well as a decline in Star ratings. This is why retaining members is a top priority among health plans. Welltok’s Medicare Retention Solution has helped leading Medicare plans reduce disenrollment rates by up to 30%, improve disenrollment-related Star ratings from 2.5 to 4 and retain up to $97 million in premiums. (read more)

Industry Voices—As the Medicare Trust Fund barrels towards insolvency, bipartisan solutions are left on the table

BY GREG MCKENNA: Recently the Medicare Trust Fund Board of Trustees released its 2019 annual report, showing the program in less than a decade away from insolvency. While revenues may have exceeded expenses this year, the hospital insurance trust fund—by far the most expensive portion of the program—is expected to run out of money by 2026.

After that, Medicare will only be able to meet 89 percent of expenses and may have to make cuts to benefits in order to meet its obligations. (read more)

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