Medicare reauthorization of 2015
What Does the Medicare “Doc Fix” Bill Do?
The “doc fix” bill, officially called the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA):
•Replaces the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that cuts Medicare doctors pay in theory, but has been pushed off by 17 short-term patches since 2002 to avoid doctors refusing to take Medicare patients. Medicare doctors would have seen a 21% cut in April of 2015 if the fix wasn’t passed.
•Makes the qualifying individual (QI) program that subsidizes Medicare Part B premiums for beneficiaries who earn 120% to 135% of federal poverty levelpermanent.
•Extends the Medicare Advantage special needs plans (SNPs) through the end of 2018.
•Extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years (for a total of 4 more years, it was already extended for 2).
•Removes social security numbers from newly issued Medicare cards by April 16, 2019 with new cards issued no more than four years later.
•Cuts Medicare spending by:
•◦Decreasing funding to supplemental Medicare plans specifically reducing spending on “first dollar” coverage of supplemental Medigap plans enjoyed by some from 2020 onward (if you have a Medigap plan that does this you can keep it, but new ones wont be sold).
◦Requiring higher premiums for seniors who make more than $133,500 to pay more for Medicare coverage starting in 2018.
◦Implementing new quality measures that follow that ACA’s lead of rewarding quality care over quantity.