With the annual enrollment period just around the corner, Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations are starting to tout what benefits they’re offering seniors for the upcoming year.
MA is a form of Medicare that is administered by private insurers. Over recent years, plans have received more flexibility around what they can offer. That flexibility has allowed more plans to offer in-home care services as part of their benefits.
The flexibilities come through the two pathways: primarily health-related benefits and Special Supplemental Benefits for the Chronically Ill (SSBCI).
Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM), UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), Cigna (NYSE: CI) and more have begun to unveil what care services will be available for their members in 2023. Medicare open enrollment runs from October 15 to December 7, 2022.
In an effort to address loneliness, Cigna’s MA members will have access to a companionship and support program.
As part of the program, members will be able to have an individual that helps them with activities of daily living or simply keeps them company. While this program was previously introduced last year, Cigna is doubling down and making it more widely available to its members.
Cigna is also offering its members a caregiver support program in specific markets. The program provides aid for the challenges that come up when caregiving. For example, stress management support and help with organizing medical records.
“By leveraging the full capabilities of our enterprise, Cigna is able to offer Medicare Advantage customers a range of affordable, personalized plans,” Aparna Abburi, president of Medicare and CareAllies at Cigna, said in a press statement.
In addition to its 2023 offerings, Cigna is also scaling its MA services. Cigna will offer MA plans in New York and Kentucky and in additional counties in Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.
“We take a thoughtful and targeted approach to our Medicare Advantage footprint – adding new markets where we have strong provider partnerships that will ensure our customers get quality care,” Abburi said.
On its end, Humana is significantly expanding support for its two hospital-at-home models.
Similar to Cigna, Humana is still focused on companionship services for its members and combating loneliness. Its members will have access to Papa Pals.
Founded in 2017, Miami-based Papa is an in-home companionship platform that connects Papa Pals with older adults. Aside from companionship, Papa Pals provide seniors general assistance, including transportation services, light housekeeping and similar task-based help.
“When you sum up what Humana is offering this year, it’s as simple as this: Our members spoke, and we listened,” George Renaudin, Medicare president at Humana, said in a statement. “We conducted extensive research to ensure our changes align with consumer wants and needs.”
UnitedHealth Group also released details of its MA offerings for 2023.
“With financial pressures especially impacting older adults living on fixed incomes, we are committed to improving the benefits we offer and driving industry-leading innovations that make them easier to use for the people we serve,” Tim Noel, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Medicare and retirement, said in a statement.
Currently, more than 8.2 million people are enrolled in UnitedHealthcare MA plans. Like Cigna, the company plans to expand its service area to reach 95% of Medicare beneficiaries across the nation.
In what UnitedHealth Group calls “high-touch member support,” the company will be offering house calls. Members will have access to visits from either a licensed physician or advanced practice clinician.
These house calls can include reviewing a member’s medical history. A member will also be able to ask medical questions and get physical exams and health screenings.
“These visits also provide an opportunity to assess the social, emotional and environmental needs of a member that usually cannot be assessed in a clinic setting,” UnitedHealth Group said in a press statement.
Also under its high-touch member support is UnitedHealthcare At Home. This personalized clinical program will be available to members in certain markets. The program aims to improve health outcomes via touch points including in-home visits.
Aetna — which is part of CVS Health (NYSE: CVS) — is expanding its dual eligible special needs plan offerings across 30 states. This includes new markets in South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah.
While coverage varies, it includes offerings such as healthy foods, additional transportation, companionship and fall-prevention benefits.
Aetna will also offer access to telehealth visits for primary care, urgent care and specialty care.
Members will also be able to have fitness memberships through SilverSneakers, which has 15,000 fitness locations.
Plus, Aetna is offering an annual healthy home visit, which includes a health risk assessment and non-invasive physical exam that takes place in the home.
Aetna’s Resources For Living program is focused on addressing loneliness and connecting members with community resources, such as transportation, housing, food programs and caregiver support.
Blue Shield of California
Blue Shield of California is another MA plan offering a house-calls care program for its MA members. It’s aimed at members with complex health issues.
The company is also addressing food insecurity with its healthy grocery benefit. This will give members a monthly allowance that can be used to buy healthy and nutritious foods.
Additionally, a concierge service that will aid members with things like scheduling appointments with primary care physicians and specialists, getting test results and medical equipment will be part of the company’s 2023 benefits.
“As a nonprofit health plan, Blue Shield has been serving Californians for more than 80 years with a track record of stability, brand integrity and mission-driven service,” Lina Saadzoi, vice president and general manager of Medicare at Blue Shield, said in a statement. “We believe that for 2023, Medicare members, prospects, and those aging in to Medicare will appreciate our heritage and the trust they can have in our service to them.”