Analysis: Newly-Expanded Supplemental Benefits Grew 64% in 2021
2021 brings wider offerings of adult day care services, home-based palliative care, in-home support services, and caregiver support
Washington, D.C. – As Medicare’s annual open enrollment period continues, a new data brief commissioned by Better Medicare Alliance (BMA) and prepared by the actuarial consulting firm Milliman highlights the continued expansion of supplemental benefits in Medicare Advantage for Contract Year 2021.
The data brief showed that under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) reinterpretation of “primarily health-related” benefits, supplemental benefits like adult day care services, home-based palliative care, in-home support services, and support for caregivers of enrollees have increased again for 2021.
Overall, the number of Medicare Advantage plans offering at least one of the five recently expanded supplemental benefits jumped 64% (351 to 575) from 2020 to 2021, while the number of plans offering more than one benefit increased 82% (96 to 175).
“Not even a global pandemic could disrupt the positive trend of expanded supplemental benefit offerings in Medicare Advantage, as plans find new ways to care for the whole person and address social determinants of health,” said Allyson Y. Schwartz, President and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance. “With the uptake of these benefits expanding yet again – an increase of 64% year over year – it’s clear that CMS’s flexibilities have met a need and Medicare Advantage plans are responding with innovations in benefits and care delivery. These benefits, not available in Traditional Medicare, help seniors remain in their homes, avoid social isolation, and lead longer healthier lives. The nearly 27 million Americans expected to enroll in Medicare Advantage in 2021 look forward to this more comprehensive view of their health needs and the opportunity for better health outcomes it brings.”
Guidance issued in both 2018 and 2019 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) expanded the type of supplemental benefits that Medicare Advantage plans are permitted to offer. Milliman’s analysis considers a set of five benefits made more widely available under the CMS guidance.
Read the full brief from Milliman HERE.