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CMS proposes adding Health Equity Index to Medicare Advantage, Part D star ratings

The annual rule governing Medicare Advantage and Part D is putting a focus on health equity, the Biden administration announced earlier this month (Source: “CMS puts focus on health equity in Medicare Advantage, Part D Advance Notice,” Fierce Healthcare, Feb. 3).

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its proposed Advance Notice for Medicare Advantage and Part D in 2023, and in the regulation the agency proposes updating the MA and Part D star ratings to account for how well a plan tackles health equity.

CMS is seeking comment specifically on a potential quality measure for the star ratings that would assess how often plans are screening for common social needs such as food insecurity, housing insecurity and transportation challenges.

CMS Deputy Administrator and Center for Medicare Director Meena Seshamani, M.D., said in a statement that the proposed Heath Equity Index aims to enhance transparency around how MA plans are treating "our most vulnerable beneficiaries" as well as encourage improvements in their care.