New this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is requiring Medicare enrollment requests to include race and ethnicity data fields. This is part of a broader commitment and goal by CMS to advance health equity and eliminate underlying inequities in the health care system.
A top priority established in its 2022-2032 CMS Framework for Health Equity (PDF), CMS plans to tackle health equity by prioritizing data collection. As one of the first steps in its efforts to reduce disparities and advance meaningful equity mandates, CMS is collecting race and ethnicity data on enrollment requests to better understand the diversity of the Medicare population.
What does this mean for CalPERS Medicare members?
If you’re eligible for Medicare and are enrolling in a CalPERS Medicare health benefit plan in 2023, we’ll direct you to complete your Health Demographic Profile either through your myCalPERS account or on the CalPERS website. In the Health Demographic Profile, you can provide your race and ethnicity information as well as other demographic data important to CMS and CalPERS.
This information has the power to reveal trends in health care and can identify whether changes need to be made in the way access and treatment to care is provided, leading to improved health outcomes for our diverse members.
If you’re already enrolled in Medicare, this enrollment requirement does not apply to you. It’s only for new Medicare enrollments for members and dependents starting January 1, 2023. However, you can complete your profile if you choose to.
Providing race and ethnicity data is voluntary and you won’t be denied your coverage if you don’t provide it. We strongly encourage you to complete your profile — state and national goals to advance equity and eliminate disparities in health care have become priority, and providing the data significantly contributes toward this effort.
How will the data be provided to CMS?
We’ll transmit the race and ethnicity data provided in the profile to your health plan carrier. It’s the health plan carrier’s responsibility to provide this information to CMS through their normal enrollment processes. To learn more about CalPERS’ health equity goals, watch our video or visit our webpage. For more information about CMS efforts, read their blog post.