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What is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services?

Just the essentials...
  • CMS is the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
  • The CMS administers Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP
  • The CMS carries out important policies in the Affordable Care Act
  • The CMS works with the insurance industry, health care providers, and in partnership with states and other federal agencies
  • The CMS plays a major role in US healthcare providing for the young, poor, disabled and retired Americans

The CMS is a major function in the US Department of Health and Human Services. The CMS has a large campus headquarters in Baltimore, Maryland. The CMS administers basic health services and insurance programs in conjunction with state governments.

These programs serve more than 46 million Americans. It serves a widespread and diverse population. The recipients include pregnant women, infants, elderly Americans, low-income citizens, and those with challenged abilities.

Enter your zip above to compare Medicare health insurance rates and other supplemental plans in your state!

Individual Mandate

The CMS programs of Medicare, Medicaid, and the CHIP each meet the requirements of the individual mandate. Those participating with full coverage from either of these major programs do not need to do anything else to avoid the tax penalty. The following programs meet the individual mandate:

The CMS Basic and Low-Income Programs

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The CMS division for the low-income programs is the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS). They operate the innovative Basic Health Program which provides coverage for millions that have an immigration status that will not work with Medicaid or CHIP. The following are the major programs the Center for Medicare and CHIP Services operates for low-income residents:

  • Medicaid
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program
  • Basic Health Program

CMCS Administers Medicaid

Medicaid is a joint program between the Center for Medicaid and Chip and the states and territories of the US. In a sense, Medicaid is made up of more than 50 individual programs; each state or territory makes rules for its residents and operates under guidance from the CMCS.

The CMCS directs federal funds to combine with state monies and pay benefits for low-income residents. Regular medical care is vital to containing long-term costs. Prevention and early detection are the best tools to lower health care costs; it is also the best way to promote good health and wellness.

Vaccines and Dental

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The Affordable Care Act added funding and oversight for CHIP sponsors to add dental care to the services for children along with vaccines and early diagnostics, screenings, and detection services. This program and funding assist those in the area between Medicaid and the Obamacare marketplace income requirements. These would include those that might rise and fall around the minimum during the course of an insurance cycle.

The goal of protecting vulnerable populations applies with force to CHIP beneficiaries. Loss of medical care to children can have long-term and tragic results.

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)

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The law was enacted in 1998. It followed the work of First Lady Hillary Clinton to develop a workable plan for a national health insurance law. The national law did not proceed, but the consensus did emerge for a program focused on children. The CMS matches state funds with federal monies to fund health coverage for children in low-income families.

The families’ incomes were often too high for Medicaid but too low for private coverage. After enactment, nearly every state raised the eligibility to get CHIP to 200-percent of the federal poverty guideline to ensure a wide reach and full participation by families with children.

Obamacare Changes to Medicaid

The Affordable Care Act changed Medicaid. It authorized an expansion of the upper-income limit to as high as 133 percent of the federal poverty line (138 percent when not reducing the first five percent). The ACA standardized eligibility to some extent so that more people could qualify. The ACA added funds for the Medicaid Expansion.

The CMS and the Affordable Care Act

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The CMS plays a role in carrying out the Affordable Care Act. It has authority to develop and carry out the Basic Health Plan innovations in the Affordable Care Act. The State of New York has joined the state of Minnesota as operators of Basic Health Plans. These programs can work with legal residents that are not eligible for Medicaid and CHIP coverage.

The qualifying income range is 133 percent to 200 percent of the federal poverty line. The Basic Health Plan must offer ten essential benefits and exceed minimum economic value.

Dramatic Impact in New York

The NY and Minnesota basic health plans enrolled nearly 650,000 people in 2016. A significant number were immigrants with lawful status not eligible for Marketplace programs, CHIP or Medicaid.

The fees were low in contrast to similar plans in the Marketplace. Based on the first annual cycle, the states may find ways to expand this model.

CMS Administers Medicare

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The CMS administers the Medicare program. It is the nation’s primary effort to manage health care for older Americans. The Medicare programs have both public and private managed care.

The programs below are the Major Medicare programs that provide health insurance and medical care for older and disabled Americans.

Original Medicare is Government-Run Insurance

Original Medicare consists of Medicare Part A Hospital Insurance and Medicare Part B Medical Insurance. The two parts of the major federal health law for the elderly make a powerful combination. They provide a fixed fee for service network made up of every hospital and doctor that accept Medicare.

There is no gatekeeper physician to track patients care and ration services. There are no controls over patients, and they can seek advice at any point along the large network of participating medical services providers.

Original Medicare Gave Consumer Freedom

The Original Medicare consisted of Parts A and B. It provided hospital care and medical services to participants. The CMS used the bargaining power of its millions of participating members to press low-cost arrangements. The Original Medicare is still the majority choice of new and existing users.

Unlike most managed care, there are no preferences for one set of providers over another. There are no structured impediments to seeking care from specialists. Some services have a low supply, and there have been occasional price barriers.

Obamacare Strengthened Medicare

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The Affordable Care Act added prevention and wellness benefits to all qualified health plans. The CMS incorporated these changes into Original Medicare and participants get free screenings, vaccines, and examinations as part of the conversion. These changes increased the value of Original Medicare without increasing the price.

Many valuable Medicare services come with copays and Part B cost sharing at a typical rate of 20 percent. For some fixed income participants, the persistent costs of copays and coinsurance created barriers to getting regular care. The Obamacare changes help them in particular ways; it provides a no-cost way to add some basic healthcare and annual services.

Medicare Advantage

After the passage of Original Medicare, the Congress revisited the subject and decided to add a greater range of consumer choice. They did this by creating marketing corridors for private insurance companies to sell products to Medicare customers.

Medicare Advantage plans must meet the coverage requirements of Original Medicare; they have a wide range of freedom to devise methods of meeting Original Medicare.

Advantage Plans Offer Variety

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Advantage plans can vary coverage change priorities and create ways of controlling overall costs. They can add no cost and low-cost popular benefits. Some Advantage plans cost less than part B and many subscribers look for low prices. Advantage plans can combine Part D- Prescription Drug benefits.

Prescription benefits stand alone in Part D, in Advantage plans, they offer consumers a one-stop shopping experience for hospital, medical, and prescription drug coverage.

  • HMO is the health maintenance organization. This form uses a primary care physician to provide care and refer the patient to other resources in the network. The HMO does not use outside resources
  • PPO is the preferred provider organization. This form of managed care uses a network as its main resource. It does not use referrals but does not pay as much when clients go outside of the network. The client is free to use outside resources but must pay more when doing so.
  • EPO is the exclusive provider network. This type of plan does not use outside resources. Users must stay within the network or pay the entire costs.
  • HMOPOS is the point of sale option for the health maintenance organization. In this form, the primary care physician can write referrals to outside doctors and specialists. The HMOPOS pays for the referrals to outside services at a lower rate than network resources.
  • PFFS or private fixed-fee-for-services is the type of managed care that Original Medicare provides. This system signs doctors and hospitals into a network based on price terms. Customers have a clear idea of the prices they will pay. These networks can connect to HMO or PPO types or stand alone.

Innovations

The CMS operates a state of the art innovations center that focuses on new techniques in every phase of CMS operations, information management, and program delivery. These innovations run a wide course. They include a demonstration that involves measuring approaches to patient care, and they reach to the level of managing benefits for classes of Medicare or Medicaid users.

Information Technology

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CMS is transforming the way that Medicare and Medicaid do business. At the very core of these programs, the driving force has been the volume of work. The programs were categorically judged by the numbers of patients, treatment delivered and so forth.

The change now under CMS management is to value-based assessment. The goal to watch is the number of long-term successful patient outcomes.Collaboration using high technology communications and data sharing is a key to continuing progress.

Change for the Better

A quiet revolution is taking place in US healthcare led by the CMS in the steps towards value-based care. To the extent that CMS is a purchaser, it can help determine the priorities of the industry. Value-based accounting, purchasing, and systems promise to refocus health care on the importance of good health and good outcomes in medical care. Better spending can cause better patient health, fewer re-admissions, and a greater number of successful long-term treatments

  • Better outcomes for individuals
  • Better outcomes measured for populations
  • Fewer hospital readmissions
  • Fewer hospital acquired conditions
  • Lower costs

Incentives that Work

The CMS instituted a program of bonus payments for prescription drug plan providers. The bonuses awarded for achieving four stars and five-star ratings. The result has been observed increases in the quality of prescription drug plans available for Medicare consumers. The providers have improved their products so that consumers have better choices and improved value.

CMS and Modern Medical Information Technology

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CMS has led the fields in increasing the use of electronic health records(EHR). This enables speed of light data sharing across locations and various types of providers. EHR holds out great promise for better care and better outcomes for individuals because it permits a sharp focus of resources.

Experts from disparate locations and systems can work together and collaborate. Another part of that picture is safety, privacy, and control. CMS has managed to improve health IT to make data sharing safe, efficient, and compliant with federal information security requirements.

The CMS is the Center of US Healthcare

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In terms of impact on the lives of millions of Americans, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid is among the very top rank among public institutions. Tens of millions of US families depend directly on the health services it manages, provides, regulates, and oversees.

Improvement is the primary driving force for CMS, and every small step has a large consequence for the nation. Comparison shopping is a small step that can help consumers that must consider the private plans available through Medicare.

These are comprehensive health plans, Medicare Supplement plans, and standalone prescription drug benefits. Comparison shopping can help find the best value. Click here to compare costs today with your zip codes and a few questions!

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MULTIPLAN_GHHK5LLEN_Accepted Last Updated 3/18/2018