Health care law saved an estimated $2.1 billion for consumers

The health care law – the Affordable Care Act – has saved consumers an estimated $2.1 billion on health insurance premiums according to a new report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services. For the first time ever, new rate review rules in the health care law prevent insurance companies in all states from raising rates with no accountability or transparency. To date, rate review has helped save an estimated $1 billion for Americans. Additionally, the law’s Medical Loss Ratio (or 80/20) rule is helping deliver rebates worth $1.1 billion to nearly 13 million consumers. Read More >>

For More Information

Read more about the Affordable Care Act at HealthCare.gov and find out what’s changing and when

Supporting Every Provider in Delivering Better, More Coordinated, Patient-Centered Care

By Dr. Rick Gilfillan, Director, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation

This month, 88 new Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) joined the other Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs that came on line earlier this year.  Now, more than 150 organizations are partnering with Medicare in shared savings initiatives and offering more than 2 million patients better, more coordinated, patient-centered health care.

At the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), we see ACOs as part of the future of health care—part of a broader movement from the old fee-for-service system that simply paid more for more services regardless of the outcome, to one that rewards providers for high-quality, coordinated care. 

Providers also see ACOs as a path to better health care.   During the rulemaking process for the Medicare Shared Savings Program, our agency heard from many small practices who wanted to become ACOs, but needed additional capital to meet the high bar for care coordination required of an ACO.  

We want to make sure that healthcare providers interested in forming ACOs have the opportunity to do so.  That’s why we created the Advance Payment Model—to provide entities such as rural and physician-owned organizations that hope to become ACOs in the Medicare Shared Savings Program with the support they need to invest in staff and in health information technology.  They will repay Medicare through savings they achieve.

Last week, CMS was proud to announce the second group of fifteen Advance Payment ACOs.  These organizations join five Advance Payment ACOs announced earlier this year.  Like their Medicare Shared Savings Program colleagues, they represent communities across America, and are made up of a diverse group of healthcare providers, including independent practice associations that are owned and operated by physicians. 

The interest of these small, independent practices in the ACO model demonstrates that the desire to improve care and lower costs through improvement exists in small practices as well as large health systems.  These providers are committed to improving the health and health care of their patients over the long haul. 

Recently, CMS announced that organizations accepted to the Medicare Shared Savings Program for January, 2013 would also have the opportunity to apply for Advance Payment Model.  At CMS, we’re committed to an ACO program that supports a diverse set of ACOs, allowing groups ranging from health systems to physician-led organizations to partner with us.

CMS Online Information Just Got Better

By Julie Green Bataille, Director, Office of Communications

We’re always looking for ways to make your experience with the Medicare, Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance, and other health care programs better. Today, we’re expanding and enhancing our online presence at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS): we’re debuting a new look and feel for CMS.gov, and launching a brand-new site for the Medicaid program, Medicaid.gov.

These changes reflect what we’ve heard from you – our users – and respond to what you’ve said you want to be able to do on our site.  Here’s what you’ll find on the new CMS and Medicaid sites:

  • A significantly improved search engine that gets you to the information you’re looking for, fast.
  • More in-depth information about what we’re doing to implement the Affordable Care Act and other new initiatives, and details about how you can apply for new programs.
  • Up-to-date, real-time updates that reflect important developments and initiatives happening with CMS programs.
  • Medicaid program information that’s readily available, easy to find, and easy to use— and we’ll be continually looking for ways to enhance your experience on this site.
  • Easy-to-access links to Healthcare.gov, which will continue to be the primary site for consumer information.

While we’ve moved content around to make it easier to find, don’t worry that you’ll lose access to any of the current Medicare and Medicaid information you rely on now. We’re launching an archive version of each of our websites too, so that historic information can remain online without adding clutter to our primary sites.

We think these changes are a good first step to improving our online presence and making information more accessible for all the patients, partners, providers, States, advocates and others who interact with our programs. However, this is just the first step — we have plans for continuous, ongoing improvements.

Take a look around at our www.cms.gov and www.Medicaid.gov, and let us know what you think. We’d like to use your feedback to help drive the direction of future website improvements.

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