CMS releases rule clearing way to move forward with risk adjustment payments and collections for 2017 benefit year for ACA exchange plans

On July 24, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an Interim Final Rule that provides additional explanation around the risk adjustment methodology used for qualified health plans (QHPs) offered in Exchanges established under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). CMS is issuing the interim final rule in response to a recent federal court decision; the rule is intended to satisfy an administrative requirement in order for CMS to move forward with risk adjustment collections and payments for the 2017 benefit year.

Importantly, the interim final rule does not make any changes to the previously published Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)-operated risk adjustment methodology for the 2017 benefit year. Instead, the rule provides an additional explanation of the rationale behind the use of statewide average premium and the budget-neutral approach that CMS used to implement the program.

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