Medicare Advantage plans are expanding their supplemental benefits offerings, particularly in-home services, in 2023, according to a report from Milliman for the Better Medicare Alliance.
In 2019, CMS began allowing MA plans to offer supplemental benefits for chronically ill members and an increasing number are doing so. The number of plans with at least one supplemental benefit has risen steadily since 2020, and the number of plans offering at least three has been increasing since 2021.1
The largest increase for 2023 was seen for in-home support offered by 794 plans, compared with fewer than 600 in 2022. Meanwhile, benefits providing caregiver support nearly tripled between 2021 and 2023 and are now offered by 259 plans. Home-based palliative care and therapeutic massage both saw small increases between 2022 and 2023.
Additional benefits like these are seen as contributing to continued growth in MA enrollment, as MA plans have more than doubled their share of Medicare beneficiaries over the past 15 years.2 A recent report from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that among the seven largest MA firms in 2022, nearly all enrollees are in plans that offer some coverage for services related to:
- vision (99%)
- hearing (98%)
- fitness (98%)
- and/or dental (96%).
More variation between plans was seen for enrollment in plans benefits related to over-the-counter products, with 84% of enrollees in a plan that offers such benefits, as well as for benefits related to remote access technologies (72%), meals, (71%) acupuncture (45%) and transportation (39%).
KFF posits that the variation may speak to different strategies for attracting and retaining enrollees, and that insurers may be choosing the benefits they expect will improve health or lower costs, as well as ones that are tailored to particular subgroups. But plans should be mindful that variations in benefits could have implications for the goal of promoting health equity, the report cautions.
As these trends continue, MA plans that identify and offer supplemental benefits that improve the health of their members, particularly those in greatest need, will position themselves to make the most of this growing market as well as in the wellbeing of their members.
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- Murphy-Barron, C., Buzby, E., Pittinger, S. Review of Contract Year 2023 Medicare Advantage expanded supplemental healthcare benefit offerings. Milliman. 2022. https://bettermedicarealliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Milliman-Issue-Brief-CY-2023-MA-EPHR-Supplemental-Benefits-final.pdf
- Fuglesten Biniek, J., Sroczynski, N., Freed, M., Neuman, T. Extra benefits offered by Medicare Advantage firms vary. KFF. Nov. 16, 2022. https://www.kff.org/medicare/issue-brief/extra-benefits-offered-by-medicare-advantage-firms-varies/