Overview: CMS collects information about Medicare beneficiaries’ experiences with, and ratings of, Medicare Advantage (MA-only) plans, Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug (MA-PD) plans, and stand-alone Medicare Prescription Drug Plans (PDP) via surveys of beneficiaries who have been enrolled in their plans for six months or longer. Although all three versions have a nearly identical set of core questions, each version also includes additional questions and response categories related to the enrollees' experiences in their own particular plan type. The health plan survey has been conducted annually since 1998, and the drug plan surveys were added in 2007.
About the survey: The MA & PDP CAHPS Survey is administered annually to a large sample of MA & PDP beneficiaries using a mixed mode data collection protocol that includes two survey mailings and telephone follow-up of non-respondents to the mailed questionnaire. Questions ask about ease of getting needed care and seeing specialists, getting appointments and care quickly, doctors who communicate well, coordination of members’ health care services, health and/or drug plan provides information or help when members need it, ease of getting prescriptions filled, rating of health and/or drug plan, rating of health care quality, annual flu vaccine, and pneumonia vaccine.
Public reporting and policy relevance: The MA & PDP CAHPS Survey allows objective and meaningful comparisons among MA and PDP contracts on domains that are important to consumers. The survey results are publicly reported by CMS for each contract in the Medicare & You Handbook published each Fall and on the Medicare Plan Finder website (www.medicare.gov). The survey results are used by beneficiaries to assist in their selection of an MA or PDP contract. The public and research community can use survey results to assess Medicare program performance, contracts can use survey results to identify areas for quality improvement, and Medicare administrators and policymakers rely on the measures to manage the Medicare program. Beginning in 2012, several measures from MA & PDP CAHPS have been included in the Star Ratings for MA Quality Bonus Payments.