Home care-related Medicare Advantage (MA) benefits, including support for caregivers, transportation and meal assistance, are on the rise, according to new data from CMS

More than 900 plans — reaching 4.3 million beneficiaries — will be offering the “Special Supplemental Benefits for the Chronically Ill (SSBCI)” benefits in 2021, a nearly four-fold increase compared to 245 plans this year.

As we continue to see supplemental offerings and member usage grow, we’ll also see more independent insurance providers jump in.

Increasing home-based  benefits will help more seniors and chronically ill individuals stay in their homes and out of the hospital, said Dina CEO Ashish V. Shah.

“The payer industry is acknowledging what home care providers have long known: it’s possible to reduce costs and improve the quality of care by offering wraparound non-medical benefits such as transportation, nutrition services and in-home support,” he said. 

“As we continue to see supplemental offerings and member usage grow, we’ll also see more independent insurance providers jump in.” 

In other areas of MA growth:

  • 26 million people — or about 42% of all Medicare beneficiaries — are projected to enroll in a MA plan for 2021.
  • 4,800 MA plans are available during the 2021 open enrollment season, a 76.6% increase since 2017.
  • 730 MA plans will offer expanded, primarily health-related supplemental benefits in 2021, a 46% increase from the 500 MA plans to do so this year.

And, for the first time in Medicare history, next year 53 MA plans will offer increased access to palliative care and integrated hospice care to their enrollees through the Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model.

“We’re seeing the home emerge as one of today’s most important care settings,” said Shah. “We’ve seen that when services are organized around the home, it’s more affordable, more convenient, and it’s a better experience for the patient.”

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