What should health insurance cover? There are some obvious answers – like doctor visits, hospital stays, essential lab tests and prescription drugs. Then there are some “nice to haves” – like grocery delivery, transportation to the doctor’s office and a gym membership. These extra services can certainly contribute to good health, but they aren’t normally covered by health insurance.
Now, for some Medicare enrollees, this is changing. New rules allow Medicare Advantage plans to offer non-medical benefits. In fact, some of your clients may already have access to some of these benefits.
Now is a great time to get familiar with the extra services your plans are making available. Then, you can contact your clients with some good news and ensure they’re not missing out on important perks.
The New Non-Medical Benefits
Starting in 2019, Medicare Advantage plans were allowed to add in-home support services, Adult Day Health services and other benefits that reduce the impact of health problems or the need for emergency medical care.
As of 2020, Medicare Advantage plans can offer supplemental benefits that are not directly health-related but are intended to improve and maintain health and address social determinants of health for enrollees with chronic disease. An announcement from CMS provides multiple examples, including home air cleaners for patients with asthma and heart healthy food for someone with heart disease. Plans can also provide transportation to doctor’s appointments.
This rule change opens up many new and exciting possibilities for Medicare Advantage plans and their enrollees. Expect Medicare Advantage plans to get creative in 2021 and beyond, slowly dipping their toes into flexible benefits that support social and physical health.
What This Means for Agents
Medicare Advantage has been an increasingly popular choice for many Medicare enrollees. Beneficiaries have access to more plans, and those plans have a wider range of benefits.
Choice is good – but it can also make things more complicated. There’s a lot more variation among plans now, and this means that insurance agents have a lot more to think about as they advise their clients.
Help your clients find the right match for their needs.
- See which plans offer new non-medical benefits in the areas you serve.
- Keep an eye out for changes. These rules are still fairly new, and more Medicare Advantage plans may start offering additional benefits in the future. Don’t assume that the benefits offered this year will be the same next year.
- Talk to your clients to find out what their needs are to determine which non-medical benefits could help them. Keep in mind that your clients’ needs may change as their health conditions change.
Now, more than ever, helpful and frequent communication with your senior clients is important. These extra benefits provide the perfect reason to reach out and make a connection.