Five years ago, as part of the CMS Medicare-Medicaid Financial Alignment Initiative (FAI), participating Medicare-Medicaid Plans (MMPs) in 10 states were required to create Consumer Advisory Councils (CACs) to provide feedback on enrollees’ care experience.

We at the Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation saw these as a crucial component of ensuring care was person-centered — but only if done well. To analyze their effectiveness we surveyed plans participating in the Initiative about their Councils. These results provide a snapshot of current Council structures, impacts and challenges and serve as a roadmap for health plans — whether part of the Initiative or not — to strengthen their meaningful engagement of consumers.

The resulting report also provides important lessons for developing, implementing and managing consumer advisory councils that have relevance for advocates, public officials, and health plan and provider leaders. We hope that this report will be a helpful resource for spurring more meaningful development of CACs and involvement of consumers in their design and implementation.