The CMS has kept its promise to release Medicare Advantage data
to researchers looking to analyze care trends for seniors. It’s the first time the agency has done so. The CMS has been collecting data on patient conditions and the services they receive since 2012, using it to help calculate payments for Medicare Advantage insurers. The agency has now released preliminary Medicare Advantage encounter data from 2015. More data are expected to come in from insurers through August, and final data reports will follow, CMS Administrator Seema Verma said. The agency will release data annually going forward, she said. The CMS had expected to make the data available last year, but accuracy concerns postponed the release. Next year, the CMS also expects to make Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program data available. This means researchers will have access to data on another 70 million patients. Policy insiders have pushed the CMS to release Medicare Advantage data, noting there has been little public information on the value Medicare Advantage provides to its beneficiaries.