Within the present Medicare Benefit (MA) taking part in area, competitors is fierce. With 39 MA well being plans obtainable to the common beneficiary in an MA contract service space, well being plans that don’t supply the most effective worth in premiums, supplemental advantages, and supplier networks may very well be squeezed by decrease enrollment and elevated churn. Attaining fierceness within the face of this competitors requires a dedication to excellence in member engagement, Star Scores, and danger adjustment to make sure the plan is appropriately compensated for the medical danger burden of its inhabitants.
To turn into fierce and targeted in 2022, listed below are three key areas that MA plans ought to bolster inside their danger adjustment applications to make sure premium accuracy, supply the most effective profit designs attainable, and excel in at the moment’s crowded section.
Sooner, smarter, stronger: Attaining danger adjustment excellence within the hyper-competitive Medicare Benefit panorama
Join in-home assessments (IHAs) to raised care outcomes
First, let’s distinguish telephonic well being danger assessments from in-home and digital well being assessments (IHAs). All MA plans ought to be contacting their membership to assemble well being standing and social wants information by way of telephonic well being evaluation. This can be a helpful mechanism to have interaction members and schedule follow-up care when wanted.
Now, let’s transfer to in-home assessments (IHAs), which is sending a supplier to the house to carry out full well being standing discovery and care planning. The Workplace of the Inspector Normal (OIG) throughout the Division of Well being and Human Companies has made it clear that whereas IHAs are a legitimate supply of diagnoses for danger adjustment, it stays involved that MA plans are receiving substantial funds for diagnoses collected on IHAs with out offering proof that the member’s captured circumstances are enveloped of their remedy plan. This concern is echoed by the Medicare Cost Advisory Fee (MedPAC), which has advisable since 2016 that circumstances not enveloped in a remedy plan and documented be excluded. IHAs have been within the headlines for a number of years, however in at the moment’s atmosphere, we now see elevated oversight and penalties on account of their challenges associated to remedy plan compliance and documentation.
On this atmosphere of elevated regulatory scrutiny, there’s zero room for error. MA plans ought to act underneath the belief that this scrutiny will proceed to extend, and due to this fact do every thing of their energy to make sure that IHAs fulfill their meant goal: to meaningfully enhance member care. This implies partaking immediately with members and suppliers to make sure that any diagnoses recognized by IHAs are addressed by follow-up care with members’ main care doctor, in addition to flagging IHA diagnoses to make sure they’re additionally represented in different claims or medical data.
Add second-pass coding evaluation for improved compliance
Whereas the Facilities for Medicare & Medicaid Companies (CMS) opted to maintain the MA coding depth adjustment on the statutory minimal of 5.90% within the just lately finalized 2023 MA and Half D Fee Announcement, considerations about coding within the trade stay. The trade can counter this concern in quite a lot of methods. One means to enhance coding accuracy and compliance is to conduct a further audit of medical data. Many plans conduct second-pass coding so as to add one other stage of rigor to the audit course of, and this self-discipline may add claims validation as nicely.
Including this stage of rigor signifies that well being plans have higher confidence of their suppliers’ full and correct coding. Further documentation oversight not solely improves member care, however ensures that these diagnoses additionally seem on the member’s medical data and creates extra full information information to assist care planning, continual care administration, and communication with authorities companies.
Ramp up SDoH assortment for higher high quality outcomes and scores
The MA high quality bonus program tied to Star Scores continues to be subjected to rising scrutiny, with current research discovering that it doesn’t actually enhance plan high quality and even contributes to racial disparities. MedPAC has beforehand voiced its personal considerations, calling in 2020 for Congress to interchange it with a brand new incentive program that might depend on a “small set” of population-based measures and incorporate variations in members’ social danger components (i.e., social determinants of well being or SDoH), amongst different modifications.
Whereas requirements for SDoH assortment are usually not universally outlined within the trade but, this doesn’t forestall plans from creating their very own requirements and processes to gather helpful SDoH information to cut back disparities and elevate the well being of their complete member inhabitants. Strong member engagement will likely be essential to gather this information, delivered by way of culturally competent communications that acknowledge that every member’s well being priorities are totally different. Bettering member engagement may even immediately profit Star Scores efficiency as the load on member expertise will increase to make up 57% of a plan’s whole ranking. As SDoH proceed to extend in significance throughout each high quality and danger applications, MA plans that may not solely seize this information however act on it in significant methods will likely be within the strongest aggressive place.
To separate themselves in at the moment’s Medicare Benefit, well being plans should transfer past the basics of danger adjustment similar to suspect analytics and HCC coding to pursue alternatives for true excellence and higher outcomes for his or her members. Be taught what these alternatives are from our new eBook, Sooner, smarter, stronger: Attaining danger adjustment excellence within the hyper-competitive Medicare Benefit panorama.