On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed into law comprehensive health care reform, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Part four of the AASM’s health reform overview series focuses on Cost Containment.
Cost Containment – Medicare
- Restructure payments to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans by setting payments to different percentages of Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) rates, with higher payments for areas with low FFS rates and lower payments (95% of FFS) for areas with high FFS rates. Phase-in revised payments over 3 years beginning in 2011, for plans in most areas, with payments phased-in over longer periods (4 years and 6 years) for plans in other areas. Provide bonuses to plans receiving 4 or more stars, based on the current 5-star quality rating system for Medicare Advantage plans, beginning in 2012; qualifying plans in qualifying areas receive double bonuses.
- Reduce annual market basket updates for inpatient hospital, home health, skilled nursing facility, hospice and other Medicare providers, and adjust for productivity.
- Freeze the threshold for income-related Medicare Part B premiums for 2011 through 2019, and reduce the Medicare Part D premium subsidy for those with incomes above $85,000/individual and $170,000/couple. (In effect)
- Establish an Independent Payment Advisory Board comprised of 15 members to submit legislative proposals containing recommendations to reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending if spending exceeds a target growth rate. Beginning April 2013, require the Chief Actuary of CMS to project whether Medicare per capita spending exceeds the average of Consumer Price Index All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) and Consumer Price Index for Medical Care (CPI-M), based on a five year period ending that year. If so, beginning January 15, 2014, the Board will submit recommendations to achieve reductions in Medicare spending. Beginning January 2018, the target is modified such that the board submits recommendations if Medicare per capita spending exceeds Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita plus one percent. The Board will submit proposals to the President and Congress for immediate consideration.
- The Board is prohibited from submitting proposals that would ration care, increase revenues or change benefits, eligibility or Medicare beneficiary cost sharing (including Parts A and B premiums), or would result in a change in the beneficiary premium percentage or low-income subsidies under Part D. Hospitals and hospices (through 2019) and clinical labs (for one year) will not be subject to cost reductions proposed by the Board. The Board must also submit recommendations every other year to slow the growth in national health expenditures while preserving quality of care by January 1, 2015.
- Reduce Medicare Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments initially by 75% and subsequently increase payments based on the percent of the population uninsured and the amount of uncompensated care provided (Effective 2014)
- Eliminate the Medicare Improvement Fund. (In effect)
- Allow providers organized as accountable care organizations (ACOs) that voluntarily meet quality thresholds to share in the cost savings they achieve for the Medicare program. To qualify as an ACO, organizations must agree to be accountable for the overall care of their Medicare beneficiaries, have adequate participation of primary care physicians, define processes to promote evidence-based medicine, report on quality and costs, and coordinate care. (Shared savings program established January 1, 2012)
- Create an Innovation Center within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to test, evaluate, and expand in Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP different payment structures and methodologies to reduce program expenditures while maintaining or improving quality of care. Payment reform models that improve quality and reduce the rate of cost growth could be expanded throughout the Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP programs. (In effect)
- Reduce Medicare payments that would otherwise be made to hospitals by specified percentages to account for excess (preventable) hospital readmissions. (Effective October 1, 2012)
- Reduce Medicare payments to certain hospitals for hospital-acquired conditions by 1%. (Effective 2015)
Cost Containment – Medicaid
- Increase the Medicaid drug rebate percentage for brand name drugs to 23.1; increase the Medicaid rebate for non-innovator, multiple source drugs to 13% of average manufacturer price; extend the drug rebate to Medicaid managed care plans. (In effect)
- Reduce aggregate Medicaid DSH allotments by $.5 billion in 2014, $.6 billion in 2015, $.6 billion in 2016, $1.8 billion in 2017, $5 billion in 2018, $5.6 billion in 2019, and $4 billion in 2020. Require the Secretary to develop a methodology to distribute the DSH reductions in a manner that imposes the largest reduction in DSH allotments for states with the lowest percentage of uninsured or those that do not target DSH payments, imposes smaller reductions for low-DSH states, and accounts for DSH allotments used for 1115 waivers. (Effective October 1, 2011)
- Prohibit federal payments to states for Medicaid services related to health care acquired conditions. (In effect)
Cost Containment – Prescription Drugs
- Authorize the Food and Drug Administration to approve generic versions of biologic drugs and grant biologics manufacturers 12 years of exclusive use before generics can be developed. (In effect)
Cost Containment – Waste, Fraud and Abuse
- Reduce waste, fraud, and abuse in public programs by allowing provider screening, enhanced oversight periods for new providers and suppliers, including a 90-day period of enhanced oversight for initial claims of DME suppliers, and enrollment moratoria in areas identified as being at elevated risk of fraud in all public programs, and by requiring Medicare and Medicaid program providers and suppliers to establish compliance programs. Develop a database to capture and share data across federal and state programs, increase penalties for submitting false claims, strengthen standards for community mental health centers and increase funding for anti-fraud activities. (Effective dates vary)