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Issue Brief

MA Enrollment Update: Beneficiaries Continue to Choose Medicare Advantage


As benefciaries look towards Medicare Advantage (MA) open enrollment in the fall (October 15 – December 7), multiple recent reports and data releases show that the popularity of MA continues to grow. Throughout the country, Medicare benefciaries have access to a variety of MA plans and the quality of these plans is high and getting higher. This issue brief contains a review of the key trends and insights that the Better Medicare Alliance (BMA) has observed.

Understanding Risk Adjustment in Medicare Advantage

Better Medicare Alliance presents the paper, “Understanding Risk Adjustment in Medicare Advantage.” Medicare Advantage relies on accurate and stable risk adjustment that ensures plans and practitioners are able to provide high value care to all beneficiaries, including those with complex health needs.

2018 Medicare Advantage Advance Notice Policy Primer



On February 1, 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the Medicare Advantage 2018 Advance Notice and Draft Call Letter, which includes methodological changes for calendar year 2018 for Medicare Advantage capitation rates, payment policies, as well as other policies impacting beneficiaries, providers, and other stakeholders.


ISSUE BRIEF: Value of Medicare Advantage: Pioneering Community Partnerships to Improve Health Outcomes

Between 2011 and 2030, roughly 10,000 seniors in America will become eligible for Medicare every day, presenting challenges and opportunities for the health care system.1 The growing demand for health care services increases the need for innovative community partnerships enabled by Medicare Advantage (MA).

Community partnerships help seniors age “in place”; outside of traditional health care settings. MA plans and providers are bridging gaps in health care delivery by actively engaging in partnerships with community-based organizations to meet the health and social needs of Medicare beneficiaries to improve outcomes and slow disease progression.


Download BMA's primer on the final rate notice here.

On April 4, 2016 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the 2017 Medicare Advantage Final Rate Notice and Call Letter that can be viewed here. Below is a summary of the key issues Better Medicare Alliance (BMA) raised in response to the Advance Rate Notice, released in February, and the policies finalized in the Final Rate Notice.

Proposed 2017 Change in Medicare Advantage Employer Plans Will Cause Disruption


Medicare Advantage (MA) employer plans, officially known as Employer-Group Waiver Plans (EGWPs), allow employers, governments, and labor unions to provide comprehensive MA coverage to their retirees. MA employer plans provide Medicare Part A and B benefits, as well as supplemental benefits. 

These plans offer benefits tailored to specific groups of retirees, which are then available wherever the beneficiary may live. Employer-sponsored MA plans have successfully enabled millions of retirees nationwide to maintain consistent benefits and contain costs for industries, governments, and beneficiaries. CMS is proposing to move from a bidding system to a fixed payment system for this retiree coverage. The new system would be based on a methodology that fails to capture the differences between plans sponsored by employers for groups of retirees and those offered to individuals.

2017 Advance Rate Notice For Medicare Advantage: Policy Primer

On February 19, 2016 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS) released the Medicare Advantage (MA) 2017 Advance Notice, sometimes called the “45 Day Notice,” which includes methodological changes for calendar year 2017 for MA capitation rates, payment policies (for MA and Part D), as well as other policies and information in what’s called the “Call Letter.” The Final Notice will be released 45 days after the Advance Notice, on April 4, 2016. This primer summarizes key elements in the 2017 Advance Notice for our Better Medicare Alliance (BMA) allies.


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