Feb 1, 2017

Feds propose tiny pay raises for Medicare Advantage

AP file photo

Private health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers that sell Medicare Advantage and Part D plans will receive an average payment bump of 0.25% in 2018 from the federal government, according to new guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

When factoring in how health plans document and code the medical diagnoses of their seniors and disabled members, the average payment rate will go up by 2.75%. That medical coding has been the focus of some criticism, as a Center for Public Integrity investigation concluded that Medicare insurers are manipulating the process to gain more taxpayer revenue.

No shocking policy moves: The government also decided to keep the phased-in cuts to employer-based Medicare Advantage plans, which the industry has aggressively fought.

Between the lines: Although this is the Trump administration's first foray into Medicare policy, this notice was mostly crafted and prepared by the Obama administration. The final policies for 2018 Medicare Advantage and Part D, two of the fastest growing health care programs, will come out April 3.

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World coronavirus updates: Spain tracks more cases than Italy

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

Spain overtook Italy in its number of novel coronavirus cases on Saturday. The global death toll has surpassed 64,000, per Johns Hopkins data.

The latest: Dubai announced 24/7 sterilization efforts during a two-week lockdown, starting Saturday. About half the planet's population is on lockdown in response to the outbreak.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 min ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates: Death toll surpasses 8,400

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Recorded deaths from the coronavirus surpassed 8,400 in the U.S. on Saturday, per Johns Hopkins data. The death toll in the U.S. has risen over 1,000 every day for the past four days, since April 1.

The big picture: President Trump said Saturday America's is facing its "toughest week, between this week and next week." Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the U.S. should expect to see deaths continue to rise in this period.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 32 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,197,405 — Total deaths: 64,606 — Total recoveries: 246,152Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 308,850 — Total deaths: 8,407 — Total recoveries: 14,652Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. The virus is hitting poor, minority communities harder and upending childbirth.
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. "We're having the convention at the end of August."
  5. Business updates: Restaurants step up for health care workers. Employees are pressuring companies to provide protections during coronavirus.
  6. Oil latest: Monday meeting among oil-producing countries to discuss supply curbs is reportedly being delayed amid tensions between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
  7. Education update: Many college-age students won't get coronavirus relief checks.
  8. 1 🏀 thing: The WNBA postpones start of training camps and season.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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