Stars, drugs, elec­tions and rate cuts will top in­sur­ers’ agenda

Modern Healthcare - - THE WEEK AHEAD - —Paul Demko

On the eve of the 2015 open en­roll­ment pe­riod for Medi­care ben­e­fi­cia­ries, in­surance lead­ers will gather in Wash­ing­ton to dis­cuss pub­lic health­care pro­grams.

A pri­mary fo­cus of the con­fer­ence, spon­sored by Amer­ica’s Health In­surance Plans, will be how health plans can boost their star rat­ings for the Medi­care Ad­van­tage pro­gram. Only Ad­van­tage plans that re­ceive at least four stars in the qual­ity rat­ing sys­tem are el­i­gi­ble for bonus pay­ments start­ing in 2015.

On Tues­day, Chris Jen­nings, a top health­care pol­icy ad­viser in the Obama and Clin­ton ad­min­is­tra­tions, will share the podium with Dr. Avik Roy, a Forbes colum­nist and se­nior fel­low at the con­ser­va­tive Man­hat­tan In­sti­tute, to dis­cuss the po­ten­tial im­pact of health­care is­sues on the 2014 con­gres­sional elec­tions. Roy re­cently is­sued a widely noted health­care re­form pro­posal that would use many Oba­macare fea­tures as a plat­form for the con­ser­va­tive goals of en­hanc­ing mar­ket com­pe­ti­tion and re­duc­ing fed­eral spend­ing, grad­u­ally rais­ing the Medi­care el­i­gi­bil­ity age to 75 and shift­ing most Medi­care and Med­i­caid ben­e­fi­cia­ries to the ex­changes.

High drug prices also will be a ma­jor topic. AHIP has been joust­ing with drug­mak­ers for months over drug costs, par­tic­u­larly the hep­ati­tis C drug So­valdi. For­mer CMS Ad­min­is­tra­tor Dr. Mark McClel­lan will be among the pan­elists dis­cussing that topic on Wed­nes­day.

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