Home Support Services Become Best Medicare Advantage Benefits

Home support services are the most popular – and arguably the most impactful – additional benefits offered by Medicare Advantage (MA) plans in the primarily health-related category.

This statement was supported by figures recently released by ATI Advisory. This is now even more underscored, thanks to a new data note commissioned by the Better Medicare Alliance (BMA) and prepared by actuarial consulting firm Milliman.

“Medicare Advantage continues to lead the way in innovative supplemental benefit offerings that target the well-being of beneficiaries and promote healthy aging in place,” said BMA President and CEO Mary Beth Donahue, in a press release.

New information on MA trends is released each fall, with additional information released early in the following year. Typically, the two data dumps that homecare operators care about most relate to additional benefits primarily related to health and the opportunity for Special Additional Benefits for the Chronic Ill (SSBCI).

On Thursday, BMA and Milliman announced that the number of MA diets that are expected to deliver at least one of the five recently expanded additional primarily health-related benefits in 2022 will increase to 824, a 43% increase from the 575 that have it. done in 2021. This number does not include Dual Eligibility for Special Needs (D-SNP) plans, which already had greater flexibility.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) authorized additional benefits such as home care in 2018 for plan year 2019.

“When CMS first extended primarily health-related benefits such as those allowed in Medicare Advantage, many wondered what would be the uptake by health plans,” Donahue added. “Remarkably, these benefit offerings have increased 43% year over year and 134% since 2020.”

ATI Advisory analysis released earlier this week found similarly strong adoption.

Source: Millimane

For calendar years 2020, 148 MA plans offered home support services. That figure rose to 296 the following year and is expected to reach 544 in 2022, according to Milliman and BMA.

In recent years, use of home support services has increased by more than 83%, testifying to the impact of home care, according to Vicki Hoak, executive director of the Home Care Association of America (HCAOA ).

“TO [HCAOA], we know that home care enables all those who need it to live their best lives, no matter where they live, ”Hoak said in a statement. “We are excited to see the growth of additional Medicare Advantage benefits, such as palliative home care, home support services, and caregiver support, all of which help keep seniors safe at home and in the home. support families as they age. “

Source: Millimane

MA plans take a number of factors into account when choosing to deploy new additional benefits.

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Two very important factors are a benefit’s ability to attract new members and its ability to prevent adverse health events.

Anthem Inc. (NYSE: ANTM) and many of its affiliated health plans offer a home help benefit. Elena McFann, president of Anthem’s Medicare business, previously told Home Health Care News that these benefits have also been particularly powerful when it comes to member retention.

“It all comes down to home health and redefining the way we play in the health space,” McFann said in October. “We’ve actually found that our additional perks like personal home help are the ones that drive increased sales and, by the way, increased retention.”

There are only a handful of cases so far where a diet hasn’t doubled some benefit in the primarily health-related category.

For example, the number of plans offering therapeutic massages has decreased from 2020 to 2021. Similarly, the number of plans offering adult day health services is expected to decrease from 2021 to 2022.

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