Latest news and updates about the Medicare and pharmacy industries.

October 18: CMS Releases 2020 Star Ratings for MA, Part D Plans

Posted on in Industry Updates by Amplicare Team

Plus, the latest pharmacy and healthcare news to know this week

The Story

As Medicare Open Enrollment kicked off this week, CMS released its 2020 Star Ratings for Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D Plans. Fifty-two percent of the 401 MA plans rated offer drug benefits in 2020 and earned four stars or higher. Approximately 81% of enrollees are in plans rated four or more stars. 

Why It Matters

From now through December 7, Medicare beneficiaries have the opportunity to change plans or continue with their current coverage. Because plan costs and benefits are constantly changing, it is important for patients to be aware of all their options for 2020. The Medicare rule changes for 2020 include an expansion of Medicare Advantage benefits and new Star Ratings for plans.

According to the CMS data, 20 plans that offer both MA and Part D coverage earned five stars, an almost 43% increase from 2019’s 14. Only five plans received less than three stars. MA plans offering prescription drug coverage were tested against 45 different quality measures. Those without Part D coverage were tested on 33, including customer service and breast cancer screenings.

CMS uses Star Ratings to evaluate the quality of services Medicare plans provide. It offers rewards to Medicare Advantage plans that perform well in different categories such as customer service. For instance, plans with four stars and above receive a 5% bonus from CMS. Meanwhile, plans that score less than three stars for three consecutive years lose their CMS contracts. As we continue through the Medicare Open Enrollment period, this information will serve to be useful for patients considering new plans and the pharmacists helping them. Earlier this year, a study found that awareness of the Star Rating System was on the rise among Medicare Advantage plan members with chronic conditions. Forty-nine percent of those familiar with the grading system used it to help them choose a plan for enrollment last year. 

Other Healthcare News to Watch

  1. The dietary supplement industry is calling on Congress to provide legal clarity around CBD in the marketplace. Drug Store News.
  2. Medicare Part D beneficiaries may see an increase in their out-of-pocket costs next year before they reach the catastrophic phase. Fierce Healthcare.
  3. According to a Care Quality Commission report, pharmacist prescribing increased by 55% from 2018-2019. The Pharmaceutical Journal.
  4. Walgreens’ disposal kiosks have collected more than 885 tons of medication. Drug Store News.
  5. Doctors are urging Americans to receive the flu vaccine in anticipation of a bad flu season to come. The Wall Street Journal.

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