Study: Newly-Expanded Supplemental Benefits in Medicare Advantage Grew 43% for 2022
2022 brings wider availability of home-based palliative care, in-home support services, caregiver support, and therapeutic massage
Washington, D.C. (November 18, 2021) – As Medicare’s annual open enrollment period continues, a new 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 2022.
Milliman’s findings show that under the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) reinterpretation of “primarily health-related” benefits, supplemental benefit offerings in Medicare Advantage like home-based palliative care, in-home support services, caregiver support, and therapeutic massage increased for the upcoming year.
Overall, the number of Medicare Advantage plans to offer at least one of the five recently expanded supplemental benefits jumped 43% (575 to 824) from 2021 to 2022, while the number of plans offering more than one benefit increased 15% (175 to 202).
“Medicare Advantage continues to lead the way in innovative supplemental benefit offerings that address beneficiaries’ wellbeing and promote healthy aging in place,” said Mary Beth Donahue, President and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance. “When CMS first expanded primarily health-related benefits such as these allowable in Medicare Advantage, many wondered what the uptake by health plans would be. Remarkably, these benefit offerings have grown 43% year-over-year and 134% since 2020. This analysis is welcome news for the 29.5 million beneficiaries the Biden Administration projects to enroll in Medicare Advantage over the coming year – seniors and Americans with disabilities who depend on Medicare Advantage for this very kind of whole-person care.”
“These supplemental benefits, unavailable in fee-for-service Medicare, continue to bring value to consumers in Medicare Advantage,” said Linda Sherry, Director of National Priorities for Consumer Action. “As proud BMA Allies, we welcome this research and, with it, the news that seniors in Medicare Advantage have a growing array of benefits at their disposal to help them lead healthier lives.”
“At Home Care Association of America, we know that home care empowers all those in need to live their best lives, wherever they call home,” said Vicki Hoak, Executive Director of Home Care Association of America. “We are pleased to see the growth in Medicare Advantage supplemental benefits like home-based palliative care, in-home support services, and caregiver support – all of which help keep seniors safe at home and sustain families as they age.”
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.