CMS Withdraws its Medicare Advantage and Part D Call Letter

On January 23, 2009, CMS announced that it is withdrawing the draft 2010 Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D call letter, which was released January 8, 2009, “pending an opportunity for further review of the document.”  CMS said the document will be reposted on its Web site after the letter has been reviewed and any revisions are made.


In a prepared statement, CMS said that “[w]e recognize that MA organizations and PDP [i.e., stand-alone Prescription Drug Plan] sponsors need to have 2010 guidance available in order to prepare their bids by the statutory deadline, and therefore will post a draft reflecting any changes resulting from a review of the current draft as soon as possible.”


The call letter, which gives instructions to the private insurance companies that want to contract with Medicare to provide drug and health coverage in 2010, was released two weeks earlier than last year and two months earlier than the previous year.  Some groups criticized the early release. For instance, the Center for Medicare Advocacy (CMA) called the call letter “an attempt by CMS to assure continued leniency in the oversight of private plans for at least another year as a last-ditch effort to promote private MA plans.”


CMS will likely be reviewing the Medicare Advantage and Part D cal letter for an opportunity to increase beneficiary protections, transparency, reporting requirements, and other areas in need of oversight.


© 2009 Parsonage Vandenack Williams LLC

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