Employers are becoming increasingly involved in the movement toward value-based reimbursement, particularly employers that self-fund the healthcare needs of their employees. Two common strategies currently used by providers to reach the employer market segment are:
• Aligning with a health plan to develop an accountable care product, which steers employees to participating providers in the accountable care network.
• Direct contracting with employers. Typically, an employer offers its employees a narrow or tiered network plan alongside a broader network product offering.
A full economic impact analysis is necessary for a provider to make an informed decision about entering a direct contract with an employer. A provider should consider the three main drivers of the contract:
• Potential revenue changes
• Opportunity to reduce cost
• Range of potential outcomes
An increasing number of employers are seeking accountable care-style solutions. This type of arrangement is still evolving, but will likely continue to proliferate, because it aligns the financial incentives of employers and providers. In this article, Milliman’s Simon Moody and Kim Hiemenz answer some key questions for providers as they consider employer-led accountable care.
While legislation to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has halted for now, the future of American healthcare remains in flux. In this article, Milliman’s Kim Hiemenz and Michelle Klein discuss how the uncertainty surrounding healthcare may lead to pent-up demand among many Americans.
Providers should review contract provisions with Medicare Advantage organizations (MAOs) as well as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) revenue adjustments yearly to understand the financial implications of their shared-risk arrangements. Milliman’s Simon Moody and Kim Hiemenz offer perspective in their article “Providers should do annual check-ups on Medicare Advantage risk-sharing contracts.”
Here’s an excerpt:
Many providers enter into shared-risk arrangements with MAOs. The most common method used in MA shared-risk arrangements is a medical loss ratio (MLR) target, i.e., claims divided by revenue. This type of arrangement is often referred to as a “Percentage of Premium.” Revenue includes both member premium and CMS revenue. This approach is often used for MA risk deals because it aligns the carrier’s and provider’s incentives, particularly the incentive to ensure accurate coding. An MAO’s revenue from CMS is directly tied to its risk score; that is, if an MAO’s risk score improves, then its revenue increases. All else equal, as revenue improves, the medical loss ratio also improves. Thus, MA coding improvement creates a win-win situation for both plan and provider in MLR target arrangements.
Significant revenue components are outside the control of MAOs
Cost targets based on revenue introduce additional considerations because there are a number of factors that affect the revenue an MAO will receive from CMS. Many of these factors are beyond the control of both the MAO and the provider because they are set by CMS. Changes in these “external” factors will directly affect the MLR and significant changes in these factors from one year to the next could inadvertently make the target MLR stated in the shared risk arrangement inconsistent with the parties’ goals.
Figure 1 includes key factors set by CMS that influence an MAO’s revenue.
Accountable care organizations (ACOs) must analyze the risks associated with each aspect of a shared risk and population-based payment contract to be successful. Attention to detail and data-driven decisions can help ensure that ACOs enter into a sustainable and cost-effective agreement. In this article, Milliman consultant Kim Hiemenz identifies the following eight elements critical to analyzing and understanding these payment contracts.
1. Understanding the attribution model.
2. Projecting population size and contract volume.
3. Modeling the impact of random variation.
4. Analyzing data.
5. Quantifying risk through specific modeling.
6. Setting utilization or financial targets.
7. Forward-thinking contracts.
8. Building trust.