KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Some States Angered About Lack Of Authority Over Medicare Advantage Plans

Elsewhere, Medicare officials consider offering HIV tests for all Medicare beneficiaries.

Center For Public Integrity: Medicare Advantage Patients Find Themselves In Regulatory Limbo
[Minnesota Attorney General Lori] Swanson turned to CMS because state regulators lack the legal authority to impose sanctions on Medicare Advantage carriers. When Congress created the Medicare Advantage option in 2003, it gave CMS that power, thus preempting state laws and oversight. Minnesota officials don't believe CMS should have a "monopoly" on oversight. "We think states should have authority over improper determinations by Medicare Advantage plans," [Minnesota attorney general’s office spokesman Benjamin] Wogsland said. "If they (CMS officials) don't take action, there's no other remedy." Other state officials also have been frustrated by the limits on their authority (Schulte, 8/19).

Modern Healthcare: CMS Considers Covering HIV Screening For All Medicare Beneficiaries
The CMS has accepted a request from HIV/AIDS advocates to consider paying for HIV screening of all Medicare beneficiaries without regard to perceived risk behavior rather than only for pregnant women and those at high risk for the virus. The change would bring the policy in line with a 2013 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommendation, although that recommendation applies to people between ages 15 and 65. HIV/AIDS advocates, however, argue that seniors should be screened as well even though it's estimated that only 3 percent of those living with HIV are 65 or older. They point to a recent CDC estimate that by 2017, more than half of those living with HIV will be 50 and older, approaching Medicare eligibility (Dickson, 8/19).

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