The Clock is Ticking for 2018 Applications and Service Area Expansions

clock1The 2017 Annual Election Period (AEP) is still in full swing, but if your organization is planning to apply for a new Medicare Advantage or Prescription Drug Plan contract for 2018 or expand its service area, now is the time to let CMS know. Fortunately, notifying CMS is a quick and straightforward process. Interested organizations must submit a Notice of Intent to Apply (NOIA) through one of CMS’ online web tools. The NOIA for organizations who are planning to submit an application for a new Medicare Advantage or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan can be found at; the NOIA for those organizations who are planning to submit a service area expansion (or add a Special Needs Plan to an existing contract) can be found at We recommend any organization that is contemplating filing an application submit a NOIA to CMS by November 14, 2016. And even if you haven’t fully committed to proceeding with an application in 2017, submitting a NOIA does not bind you in any way.
It’s important to note that even though CMS will accept NOIAs up until January 27, 2017, they can only guarantee that applicants who submit a NOIA by November 14, 2016 will have access to the online application on the CMS Health Plan Management System (HPMS) when it’s released in January. New organizations that are seeking a 2018 contract will need to request access to HPMS by December 2, 2016. The CMS User ID connectivity form and instructions can be found on the CMS website at the following link: Unlike filing the NOIA, the application process can be daunting and complex, especially if you’ve never done it before. We recommend that new applicants get a jump-start on completing the application by using the 2017 application documents on the CMS website. When the 2018 application documents are posted on January 10, you can make any necessary changes to the version you’ve already started. MCS can assist with all or parts of the application process, such as developing the Health Services Delivery (HSD) tables, compliance plan and other documents, or reviewing the documents you have created yourself to ensure they meet CMS requirements. If you have any questions on the application process or would like to speak with us about assisting you, please contact us at (562) 498-2218.

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