ACHP Statement in Reaction to Today’s Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Announcement Regarding the Establishment of Medicare Advantage Regions

WASHINGTON, D.C. Jack Ebeler, president and CEO of the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP), issued the following statement today in reaction to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) announcement regarding the establishment of Medicare Advantage regions:

“Today’s announcement that CMS created 26 operating regions for Medicare Advantage plans and 34 for prescription drug plans brings seniors one step closer to Medicare reform.  To make the most of the new options that will soon be available to them, beneficiaries need information to determine which plans and coverage fit them best.

“Beneficiaries can already access comparative information about Medicare+Choice plans, because they regularly report their performance on quality measures to CMS.  It is not yet clear whether they will be able to access the same information for every Medicare Advantage plan, including the new regional preferring provider organizations (PPOs). 

“Quality performance varies from plan to plan.  Medicare beneficiaries deserve access to comprehensive, easy-to-understand information to help them compare quality and make educated decisions.  CMS should require all Medicare Advantage plans – including regional PPOs – to report measures of quality to the public.

“Implementing Medicare Advantage is a historic opportunity to improve the quality ofAmerica’s health care.  Beneficiaries are best served by a system that allows them to compare the performance of all participating health plans.”

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The Alliance of Community Health Plans brings together innovative health plans and provider organizations that are among America’s best at delivering affordable, high-quality coverage and care to their communities.  Drawing on years of experience, members collaborate to identify problems, share information and work toward solutions to some of health care’s biggest challenges.  Their work is the foundation for ACHP’s advocacy on behalf of better health care nationally.  More information is available at www.achp.org.

Capital Health Plan; CareOregon; Excellus; Fallon Community Health Plan; Group Health Cooperative; Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin; Health Alliance Plan; HealthPartners; HIP; Kaiser Foundation Health Plans and the Permanente Federation; M•Plan; UCare Minnesota; UPMC Health Plan