« Friday Five: Top 5 healthcare business news items from the MCOL Weekend edition | Main | The PBM side of CVS »
Thursday
Apr122018

Long Term ACO Impact: Medicare vs. Medicaid vs. Commercial

Long Term ACO Impact: Medicare vs. Medicaid vs. Commercial
 

By Clive Riddle, April 12, 2018

 

Commercial accountable care – value based payment arrangements between purchasers and providers seem to be spreading virally. States Medicaid accountable care initiatives are proliferating.  Will Medicare continue to consumer the greatest share of healthcare stakeholder attributed ACO patients and financial resources?  The April issue of Accountable Care News Thoughtleaders Corner ask a panel this question: “Which type of ACO activity will have more impact on stakeholders in the long term: Medicare, Medicaid  or commercial?”

 

Kirit Pandit, Co-Founder & Chief Technology Officer of VitreosHealth responds that “I think Medicare ACO activity will have the most impact in the long term based on where incentives are maximized. Fully capitated plans such as Medicare Advantage and managed Medicaid plans will have the highest incentive to reduce costs and maintain high quality scores. This is where ACO activity will produce the best outcomes. The per member per month costs are high to make it attractive for providers to participate in these performance-based contracts.  However, compared to Medicare ACOs, Medicaid has higher churn rates. This makes it challenging for the providers to manage these members with a long-term perspective. If the churn rates are high, chronic care management activities will not have enough time to impact patient behavior and outcome. So the Medicare ACO plans that are fully capitated and have minimal member churn will have the highest impact.”

 

 Michael Millenson, President, Health Quality Advisors; adjunct associate professor of medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and author of the book Demanding Medical Excellence has this to say: “Right now, it’s synergistic. Medicare is by far the nation's largest payer, but joining an ACO is voluntary. However, Medicare’s clout and standardization are critical. On the other hand, Medicaid and private payers can both push their programs on providers (a state or large employers can choose only ACOs) and be much more innovative. Statutorily, CMS could switch all Medicare to ACOs without additional congressional authorization. If that ever happens – with implicit Congressional approval and definitely in the long term – this question will have answered itself.”     

 

William DeMarco, Founder and President, Pendulum HealthCare Development Corporation, which has advised a wide range of ACO clients shares that “We think after all the dust settles, Medicare will offer the biggest impact on stakeholders. This considers total dollars and the fact that 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day and total cost of care will continue to rise ahead of inflation – so it will always be a big number. Medicaid will continue to be in a constant state of change on a state-by-state basis, but will slowly follow the ACO transition that may very well lead to more Special Needs and Dual-Eligible strategies being promoted by states and offered by insurers, as well as provider-led health plans that see the advantage of receiving a large capitated sum from Medicare and Medicaid for eligible patients. I say this based upon the number of Section 1115 waivers being sought to permit states to offer above and beyond Medicaid benefits through ACOs and CCOs. Commercial will always be in transition, as self-funded and fully insured are finding big deductibles do not work and the fiduciary accountability starts to weigh heavily on many of the purchasers of care. What employers are interested in are ACOs that can manage the active workers and retirees at a predictable cost. Health plans and insurers are seeing their profitability is linked with these ACOs that can take partial or full risk for the medical portion of the premium, and this allows the health plan to improve administrative cost savings – plus predict total cost of care.”

 

So, some collective wisdom seems to point towards Medicare continuing to hold the strongest magnetic force attracting ACO activity.

 

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Post:
 
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>