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WASHINGTON — Next year, for the first time since Medicare Part D's inception, the deductible for the defined standard plan will be lower than in previous years, as healthcare spending across the country has been growing, with Medicare spending per beneficiary at 0.4% in 2012.
Amid these trends, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued its 2014 rate announcement and final call letter for the Medicare Advantage and Part D programs. The CMS said the announcements would set a stable path for Medicare Advantage and implement a number of policies designed to improve payment accuracy.
"The policies announced today further the agency's goal of improving payment accuracy in all our programs, while at the same time ensuring program stability and preserving beneficiary choice," CMS acting principal deputy administrator Jonathan Blum said. Medicare Advantage enrollment has increased by 25% while premiums have fallen since the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, the CMS said.
Key changes and updates in the rate announcement and call letter include lower out-of-pocket drug spending; greater protection for beneficiaries; payments to plans; an improved risk adjustment model; and improved coordination of care.