The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today added quality ratings to the 2013 Medicare plan selection system.
CMS rates Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D prescription drug program plans using a 5-star system.
CMS is trying to get Medicare Advantage plan managers more interested in the rating program this year by tying about $8.3 billion in Medicare Advantage funding to “quality bonus program” linked to the star rating system.
Some Republicans in Congress have argued that CMS has no clear authority under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA) to run the program, that the program will lead to CMS making bonus payments to too many health plans, and that CMS created the program simply to buffer health plans against PPACA-related cuts in funding.
In addition to adding star ratings to the database that consumers use, CMS has posted spreadsheets and other documents that give the data used to produce the star ratings.
The databases are aimed at health care providers, researchers, Medicare agents and brokers, and others with the ability to handle spreadsheets.
The Medicare Advantage plan database, for example, includes 42 columns of information for 578 plans.
Users can sort the data using variables such as success at controlling the blood pressure of plan enrollees, how quickly enrollees report being able to get an appointment, and how well the plan did at seeing that enrollees received appropriate likely a provider was to have assessed an enrollee’s ability to function.