FL Medicare Plan Ratings Up

Nov 8, 2013

More than half of the Medicare Advantage plans available for enrollment now in Florida for 2014 coverage earned a rating of at least four stars out of five, according to data organized by Avalere Health

A sample of Medicare advertising mailed to one St. Petersburg address over the past few weeks.
Credit Lottie Watts/WUSF / WUSF

Four Florida plans -- all sponsored by Cigna -- earned the coveted five-star rating: three plans in Bay County and one in Miami-Dade. There were no five-star Advantage plans available in 2013 anywhere in Florida.

Medicare Advantage plans, which use managed-care networks to deliver a full range of health care to enrollees, receive most of their premium payments from the federal government. Those who choose to remain in traditional fee-for-service Medicare can enroll in a prescription-drug-only plan. Open enrollment season, which began three weeks ago, ends Dec. 7.

Of 318 Medicare Advantage plans available across the state for next year, none earned less than three stars out of five, according to Avalere data.  Thirty-one lacked enough data to be rated.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is giving bonus payments  to companies that sponsor plans that earned  three stars or more  in 2014. In 2015, as Avalere Health explains, only plans with four or five stars will get bonuses.

CMS developed the star rating system, which is based on quality measures and customer satisfaction, as a way to help beneficiaries compare plan quality.  Bonuses to insurers based on the star ratings started in 2012, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

--Health News Florida is part of WUSF Public Media. Contact Lottie Watts at 813-974-8705 (desk) or e-mail at lottiewatts@wusf.org. For more health news, visit HealthNewsFlorida.org.