RUPRI Health Center Examines Beneficiary Assignment Updates in Medicare ACOs

Medicare Accountable Care Organizations: Beneficiary Assignment Update 

This brief updates Brief No. 2014-3 and explains changes in the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Accountable Care Organization (ACO) regulations issued in June 2015 pertaining to beneficiary assignment for Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs. Overall, the regulatory changes are intended to (1) encourage ACOs to participate in two-sided risk contracts, (2) increase the likelihood that beneficiaries are assigned to the physician (and ACO) from whom they receive most of their primary care services, and (3) make it easier for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) to participate in ACOs. Understanding ACO beneficiary assignment policies is critical for ACO in managing their panel of ACO providers and beneficiaries.