Medicare Advantage (MA) plans should closely review their posted data for each measure, as well as their preliminary Star Rating assignments and alert the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) of any data issues or errors.

CMS sent a memo Wednesday night to alert Medicare Advantage plans that they can preview their Star ratings data in the Health Plan Management System prior to display on the Medicare Plan Finder. 

The second plan preview will be available today through Thursday, September 15 at 5 p.m. EST.

Plans should immediately alert CMS of any suspected errors to allow enough time for the agency to investigate and process any necessary data corrections before 2023 Star ratings are released on on or about October 6.

Star Ratings Master Class

In a LinkedIn post, industry expert Rex Wallace offered his initial thoughts on the plan preview. While the measures for medication adherence, statin use in persons with diabetes (SUPD), and voluntary disenrollment continue to get harder, he said the good news is that nearly half of the 2023 Stars cutpoints will get easier.

Melissa Smith, executive vice president of consulting and professional services at Healthmine, agreed. She noted in a LinkedIn post that while the industry knew that Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and System (CAHPS) cutpoints had dropped, it was unclear if the trend would extend to other quality measures. The cutpoints, she said, have dropped fairly consistently for 2023.

RELATED: Star ratings and Tukey’s disappearing act

However, Ana Handshuh, CHC, Principal, CAT5 Strategies and chair of the RISE Quality & Revenue Community, told RISE that although plans got some relief this year, more than 30 percent of the cutpoints got tougher, especially in the upper thresholds of measures that were already difficult.

"That points to a trend of successful plans getting more creative, differentiating, taking risks, trying new things and upping their game," she said."More highly rated plans know that they have to keep their foot on the gas. Next year will be harder, given the impact of Tukey and other important changes. We have a little bit over three months to impact this measurement year. Now is the time to have those important conversations about what resources to leverage and what help to engage in order to finish strong."