Tag Archives: coronavirus

How will the pandemic impact Medicare Advantage revenue and risk scores in 2021?

While there is a great deal of focus on resource availability and handling a potential influx of severe inpatient cases resulting from COVID-19 infections, the majority of the United States saw a dramatic reduction in healthcare services around March and April 2020 and measurable reductions continue with great variation across the nation. 

As with many prospective risk adjustment models, Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D (PD) risk scores are based on medical claims, more specifically diagnoses from face-to-face visits from the year prior to the year in which the risk score drives revenue. For 2021 MA payments, 2020 diagnoses are the basis of the final risk scores. To the extent that beneficiaries delay or avoid care, there may be fewer face-to-face encounters with providers where diagnoses can be recorded and applied toward 2021 risk scores.  

While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced additional flexibilities in including telehealth-based diagnoses in risk score calculations, a significant reduction in overall services is likely to result in a material reduction in both MA and PD risk scores. In this article, Milliman’s Rob PipichKarin Cross, and Deana Bell discuss the results of an analysis they performed to support 2021 MA and PD bids. They present nine scenarios intended to illustrate a range of potential outcomes on 2021 MA and PD risk scores. 

Survey reveals pandemic’s effect on individual disability income insurance

Milliman conducted a survey of individual disability income (IDI) insurance companies pertaining to the potential impact of COVID-19 on IDI business. The purpose was to capture how COVID-19 has affected IDI carriers’ new sales and claims to date and what these companies expect will happen in the future.  

Although the ultimate impact of the pandemic on IDI insurance in the United States will not be known for a few years, it’s clear that it will be material, and in ways that go far beyond disability claims specific to COVID-19. 

To read the survey by Milliman’s Robert Beal and Dan Skwire, click here

How will COVID-19 affect medical loss ratios?

The medical loss ratio (MLR) measures a health plan’s spending on medical claims and allowable quality investments as a portion of total premium revenue net of taxes and allowable deductions. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare services have been deferred and/or eliminated in 2020, leading to a reduction in 2020 claims relative to prior years. The claims reduction for the second quarter of 2020 was more pronounced due to lockdowns in most states.

Health plans have critical decisions to make in the upcoming months with limited data available and wide uncertainty on how the pandemic will transition toward the end of 2020 and into 2021.

In this paper, Milliman’s Andrew Bochner, Jennifer Carioto, and Luis Maldonado explore how COVID-19 can affect a health plan’s MLR requirements. They also provide specific considerations for the commercial, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid markets in 2020 and beyond.

Milliman model analyzes COVID-19 recession and healthcare coverage in the United States

The COVID-19 pandemic and the mitigating actions in response by citizens and governments alike have precipitated unprecedented economic disruption in the United States. The second quarter of 2020 marked the largest single-quarter economic contraction in modern U.S. history, driving unemployment rates from historically low levels in February to peaks last seen during the Great Depression.

The unraveling and recovery of the U.S. economy have had and will continue to have a similarly disruptive influence on the enrollment in and composition of U.S. health insurance markets. These impacts will be felt throughout the health system, including in state Medicaid budgets and hospital, physician, and pharmaceutical margins, as well as in the financial performance of commercial and Medicaid health plans.

To understand the interconnected nature of economic changes and health insurance coverage and to project impacts to U.S. health insurance markets, Milliman built a tool referred to as the COVID-19 Advanced Population Shift model. This model combines detailed information on the economic status, health insurance coverage, and health status of each state’s population prior to the COVID-19 pandemic with emerging information on the economic impact of the pandemic response. It allows forecasting the resulting shifts in enrollment and population morbidity across the healthcare markets while providing insight into the key factors driving change. Milliman’s Fritz Busch, Lindsy Kotecki, and Jeff Milton-Hall summarize the findings in this paper.

Treating behavioral health conditions through telehealth is becoming the “new normal”

The COVID-19 pandemic has created significant mental health challenges for many around the world, both directly due to the consequences of the disease, and indirectly due to the difficult circumstances that arise from mitigation strategies.

During the pandemic, the gap in care for mental illnesses and substance use disorders has been magnified by the reduction in face-to-face office visits for treatment resulting from restrictions on elective care visits, physical distancing guidelines, and the fear of spreading or contracting the disease. This challenge is being addressed by some insurers and providers through rapidly increasing use of telehealth tools to provide treatment for mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

In this article, Milliman’s Steve Melek, Stoddard Davenport, and Travis Gray explain why telehealth visits may become part of the “new normal” for replacing, or at least supplementing, office visit-based treatment for behavioral health conditions.

How has COVID-19 affected home and community-based services in the U.S.?

Millions of Americans with chronic or disabling conditions rely on home and community-based services (HCBS) to meet daily self-care and independent living needs. These services enable participants to remain safely in their homes and communities rather than moving to a nursing home or other institutional setting. State Medicaid programs are the largest payer for HCBS across the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented numerous challenges and had a significant impact on the provision of HCBS.

In this paper, Milliman’s Jill Herbold and Nick Johnson discuss some challenges faced, actions taken, and the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic may have on HCBS for years to come.