Kaiser Medicare plans in California receive top ratings

CALIFORNIA -- Kaiser Permanente said today that two of its Medicare plans in California received an overall rating of five stars from the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services for the year 2012. 

The rating was granted to Kaiser's Part C and Part D Medicare plans.

The five-star rating is a distinction that health organizations are increasingly seeking, as top scoring plans will be granted the  ability to enroll new members year-round instead of only during the open enrollment fall period. Plans with ratings of less the five stars will be confined to the open enrollment period, which begins Oct. 15 and lasts through Dec. 7, according to a Kaiser spokesperson.

The Medicare Star Quality Rating System run by CMS rates plans on a 1-5 star basis, based on 50 quality measures across five categories, including saying healthy, managing chronic conditions, member satisfaction, customer service and pharmacy services.

Both Northern California and Southern California Kaiser plans have earned the five-stars.

"Kaiser Permanente is widely recognized as a leader in high-quality care and prevention," said Gregory Adams, Kaiser's Northern California regional president. "Our physicians, nurses and staff members work together to provide personalized, coordinated and technologically advanced care that improves our members' health and encourages them to be as active and productive as possible. The Medicare Star ratings provide further high-level validation that we deliver the right care at the right time, and that we do it consistently."

The ratings will grant Kaiser plans a "high performing" distinction in survey results posted on Medicare's website, www.Medicare.gov.

As part of the federal health overhaul, $136 billion will be cut from Medicare Advantage plans over the next 10 years .

The federal government is also preparing to award between $3 billion to $4 billion next year in bonus payments to health care organizations, according to Kaiser Health News, which is part of the Kaiser Family Foundation and independent of Kaiser Permanente.


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