Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 CMS has been working to reform Medicare reimbursements from "fee for service" to "fee for value." (Earlier this year Secretary Burwell noted 30% of traditional or "fee for service" Medicare reimbursements are now tied to quality or value.) The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) passed in 2015 accelerates this transition by incenting Medicare providers to participate in "fee of value" or pay for performance agreements, termed Alternative Payment Models (APMs) under MACRA, with a 5% annual bonus. To date, commercial Medicare Advantage (MA) plans (Medicare Part D) have been immune from these reforms. However, under MACRA beginning in performance year 2019 MA plan providers can potentially count their MA reimbursements and MA beneficiaries toward qualifying for the 5% MACRA APM bonus - if they meet the financial risk and other qualifying MACRA APM criteria. To what extent MA plans, that now account for nearly one-third of all Medicare beneficiaries, will work with their provider partners to meet the MACRA APM qualifying criteria is unknown.
During this 23 minute conversation Ms. Turco discusses expectations for MA plan participation under MACRA as qualifying APMs, how MA stakeholders are thinking about moving the program outside of MACRA toward improved value or reduced spending growth, CMS's MA Value Based Insurance Design (VBID) demonstration scheduled to begin in January and anticipated MA reforms under a new White House administration next year.
Ms. Molly Turco is presently Director of Policy and Research at the Better Medicare. Previously, Ms. Turco was a Senior Healthcare Policy Analyst with the Marwood Group. Ms. Turco also worked as a Healthcare Policy Researcher in the State of Vermont Office of Health Reform, within the University of Pennsylvania Health System and at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. Ms. Turco holds a MPH from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and a BA from Middlebury College.