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This video originally appeared on HCBIZ. Watch the original here. 

The pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the business of healthcare.  With states canceling elective procedures and people deferring care for fear of being exposed to the virus, hospital and medical practice revenue is down. On the flip side, many health plans are sitting on a mountain of premiums that aren’t being spent because of this deferred care, possibly leading to rebates in some cases and a ton of uncertainty in pretty much all cases. One less obvious outcome of all of this may fall on Medicare Advantage plans in 2021, and it threatens to lower payments by 4-6% in 2021.

Medicare Advantage, of course, is the rapidly growing model that’ll cover more than 24 million Americans this year. According to a recent Avalere report, these plans may be looking at both a sicker population and reduced payments in 2021 because of this deferred utilization. Here to help us understand why, and to share some advice for how Medicare Advantage plans can weather the storm is Dr. Matt Lambert, a practicing ER clinician, and Chief Medical Officer at Curation Health. A few actions Dr. Lambert suggests are:

  1. Focus on the long game and be patient. For example, don’t pay out more to shareholders and, instead, place revenue in short-term investments that they can access without penalty.
  2. Prioritize virtual care/telemedicine enablement/reimbursement now and moving forward. This will enable more members to access care while avoiding in-person treatment risks.
  3. Lead with interventions and the type of claim vs. volume of claims. MA plans will be best served to focus on capturing the key conditions that map specifically to chronic conditions as they drive the most improved outcomes, utilization and costs.

There’s a lot of nuance to this story and the way Medicare Advantage payments are calculated. Dr. Lambert breaks it all down for us. Enjoy!

Dr. Matt Lambert

Dr. Matt Lambert brings more than 20 years of experience as a clinician, CMIO, and change leader in value-based care, ensuring that patients receive more comprehensive care and that payers and providers better capture the value of their services. He is a practicing, board-certified emergency medicine provider who previously founded his own physician staffing company.

Dr. Lambert was one of the founding members of Clinovations. During his time there he served as part of the leadership team for several electronic health record implementations at the nation’s largest public health system in New York City, the University of Washington in Seattle, Johns Hopkins, Barnabas Health, Medstar, and Broward Health. He is also the author of two healthcare books: Unrest Insured (affiliate link) and Close to Change: Perspectives on Change and Healthcare for a Doctor, a Town, and a Country (affiliate link).

[email protected]

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