POLICY BRIEFINGS


HealthCare.gov Expected to Exceed Administration's Enrollment Goals


According to data released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) last week, 6.5 million people were enrolled through HealthCare.gov as recently as December 26. If this trend holds through the remainder of the enrollment period, the administration would be on track to exceed its goal to cover 9 million people. The deadline for the second enrollment period is February 15, 2015.


MedPAC Releases Home Health Payment Report


The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has released its December 2014 Report to the Congress on the impact of home health payment rebasing on beneficiary access to and quality of care. In 2014, Medicare implemented the first of four years of base-payment reductions in its home health prospective payment system (PPS) as mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). MedPAC found that the sizes of the remaining rebasing adjustments are modest enough that their impact on home health utilization is likely to be small. Additionally, MedPAC explains that trends suggest that payment changes are unlikely to have a significant effect on quality. The Commission reports that experience suggests that the small PPACA rebasing reductions will not change average episode payments significantly. Home health agency margins are likely to remain high under the current rebasing policy, and quality of care and beneficiary access to care are unlikely to be negatively affected. MedPAC’s report comes before claims or quality data is available to directly assess the impact of rebasing.


Measures Application Partnership Releases Draft Recommendations


The Measures Application Partnership (MAP) of the National Quality Form (NQF) has released its 2014-2015 preliminary recommendations on the list of measures it is considering for federal programs this year. NQF will be accepting comments on the recommendations through January 13, 2015. The MAP guides HHS on the selection of performance measures for federal health programs.



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