Oscar Health on Tuesday announced that it will no longer offer Medicare Advantage (MA) plans in most states, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Maryland, and New York.
- District of Columbia: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) on Monday announced plans to prioritize veterans with cancer after it starts processing claims under the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, which was signed into law earlier this year. "I'm proud to announce for the first time today, on National Cancer Awareness Day, that we're expediting benefits delivery for veterans with cancer conditions covered by law," said VA Secretary Denis McDonough. Starting Jan. 1, 2023, the VA will begin processing claims for benefits filed under the PACT Act, which increases benefits for millions of veterans exposed to toxic materials during their service. Under the legislation, veterans diagnosed with 23 diseases seemingly linked to pollutants and environmental hazards from the post-9/11 era and earlier wars will be able to claim health care and disability benefits through the VA. According to McDonough, the VA will not rest until "every veteran gets the care they need and the benefits they deserve." (Mitchell, The Hill, 11/7)
- Maryland: CMS last week issued a reminder that independent physician office and hospital outreach laboratories that are defined as an applicable laboratory under the Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CFLS) will be required to report specific private payer data between Jan. 1 and March 31, 2023. Along with 25 other organizations, the American Hospital Association asked congressional leaders to enact the Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act—a bipartisan piece of legislation that would delay CLFS payment reductions and lower the laboratories' reporting requirements. Without congressional action, these laboratories will face an additional 15% payment reduction in January. (AHA News, 11/7)
- New York: Oscar Health on Tuesday announced that it will no longer offer MA plans in most states after reporting a low number of policyholders during its first four years offering the plans. In 2019, the company offered its first MA plans after Alphabet invested $375 million. In 2020, Oscar Health entered a partnership with Holy Cross Health and Memorial Healthcare. "We're confident that our approach will ensure long-term, sustainable growth in Medicare Advantage—unlocking a new opportunity to bring consumers a health insurer that puts them first," Oscar Health CEO Mario Schlosser said in 2018. During the third quarter of 2022, Oscar Health reported 4,577 MA policyholders—a 17.9% increase from the same time last year. Still, MA plans represent a very small fraction of the company's more than 1 million policyholders. While the company offered MA plans in New York and Texas this year, it has cut those offerings for 2023. The only remaining MA product sold by Oscar Health is in Broward County, Florida—but the company has not yet clarified if the plan would be available next year. "We're eyeing an increased focus on [Affordable Care Act] plans and family plans," Schlosser said. "We hope to eventually go back to doing more in the MA market, and the way for us being in this market is to partner. That is the future of our +Oscar business." (Tepper, Modern Healthcare, 11/8)