Medicare Advantage Plans Offer New Benefit Packages Tailored to Specific Health Needs
Medicare Advantage (MA) plans will feature newly expanded opportunities for seniors to select innovative benefit packages tailored to their specific health needs during this year’s open enrollment period, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
In 2020, beneficiaries will have approximately 1,200 more plans to choose from than in 2018, CMS said. During the 2019 open enrollment period, a total of 2,734 MA plans were available, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. About 1,050 of this year’s plans will offer reduced cost-sharing and new supplemental benefits in 2020, up from 275 plans last year. Among the new options available to beneficiaries in 2020:
- Access to reduced cost-sharing and additional benefits will be available to enrollees with conditions such as diabetes and congestive heart failure through about 300 MA plans in 2020. An estimated 1.3 million beneficiaries will have access to this benefits.
- Many seniors who choose MA plans will receive new supplemental, or extra benefits designed to meet their specific needs to help maintain good health. In 2020, about 500 plans will provide approximately 2.6 million MA enrollees with these benefits, which could include adult care services or caregiver support services.
- Chronically ill patients will have access to MA plans that offer a broader range of supplemental benefits that are not necessarily health-related but may help maintain health. For example, chronically ill enrollees can now receive meal delivery in a greater number of instances, transportation for non-medical needs like grocery shopping, and home environment services to improve health or overall function as it relates to their illness. About 250 plans this will offer these kinds of supplemental benefit for an estimated 1.2 million beneficiaries.
- Seniors will have access to MA telehealth benefits to connect with more providers in various parts of the country. For 2020, more than half of all plans will offer additional telehealth benefits, reaching up to about 1.7 million MA enrollees.
- Beneficiaries will have more drug choices and be empowered to select a plan that best meets their needs by allowing plans to cover prescription drugs differently, depending on the reasons the medication is prescribed. This approach is used with many commercial insurance policies.
- Clinicians will receive more information on out-of-pocket costs and lower-cost alternatives for prescription drugs so they can discuss a beneficiary’s options at the time a prescription is written.
Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period begins on October 15, 2019, and ends on December 7, 2019. During this time, Medicare beneficiaries can compare coverage options like Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage and choose health and drug plans for 2020. Medicare health and drug plan costs and covered benefits can change from year to year, so people with Medicare should look at their coverage choices and decide on the options that best meet their health needs.