Kip Piper's Health Care Blog
Medicare, Medicaid, Health Reform

The $350 billion Medicare-Medicaid dual eligible market is an extraordinary new business opportunity for health insurers, as well as a way for state Medicaid programs to generate significant budget savings and improve access and quality of care for frail seniors and persons with severe disabilities.  A dozen states are now looking...
As a natural outcome of program incentives, physicians and other health care providers are motivated to deliver more services as a means to increase Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) payments. Chronic overtreatment, and the resulting overpayment, has led Medicare into its current financial crisis. Medicare’s private insurance plans, Medicare Advantage (MA) plans,...
Over time, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has revised the risk adjustment methodology for Medicare Advantage plan payments.  The risk adjustment process calculates a risk score for each Medicare Advantage (MA) plan enrollee, consistent with specific demographic factors and health status.  An MA plan's overall risk score...
Comprehensive compliance programs are essential for all hospitals, health systems, physician practices, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicaid health plans, Medicare prescription drug plans, drug manufacturers, medical device makers, long-term care providers, and others doing business with Medicare, Medicaid, or other government health programs. To help prevent fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare and...
With an array of payment reforms, quality and safety requirements, massive expansion of Medicaid, and creation of the new State Health Benefit Exchange marketplace, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) presents extraordinary new challenges for compliance, especially for health plans, physicians, hospitals and health systems, and drug and device manufacturers. In...
Medicare and Medicaid program integrity efforts – coupled with complex coding and claiming procedures, ever-increasing program requirements, new payment methods, and the growing market share of taxpayer-funded programs – present significant compliance challenges for health plans, hospitals, physicians, pharmaceutical and biotechnology firms, medical device makers, and other providers and suppliers. The...
Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most health plans are now required to provide preventive services to their enrollees without any co-payments or other cost sharing.  Over time, this is expected to significantly improve prevention and wellness, reducing costs and reducing incidence of preventable condtions.  However, the preventive services...
The federal Medicare program has an array of complex payment policies for health care providers, health plans, and prescription drug plans. Fortunately, the outstanding staff at the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) offer a series of crisp primers on Medicare reimbursement policy. MedPAC updates these annually to reflect changes...
MedPAC released its Medicare Data Book for 2010, with a wide range of useful information on Medicare spending, utilization, beneficiaries, providers, health plans, drug plans, access, and quality. The format is reader-friendly charts and tables with bulleted summaries. Specifically, the latest MedPAC Data Book includes information on: Medicare spending, including Medicare...
Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans face an extraordinary array of changes as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (HCERA). These include: New payment benchmarks for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, phased in and...

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