Health+Benefits Vital Signs the December 2019 issue

What Supplemental Benefits Look Like for Anthem, Humana, and UHC

Q&A with Martin Esquivel, vice president of Medicare product management, Anthem; Mitch Lubitz, corporate communications lead, Humana; and Meg Sergel, external communications, UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement.
By Tammy Worth Posted on November 26, 2019

Insurers can now provide coverage for care outside of the immediate medical needs of members. Leader’s Edge caught up with three benefits carriers to see how they’re incorporating these new options into their plans. For a deeper dive on how supplemental benefits expansion in Medicare Advantage could benefit members and increase enrollment, see: Medicare Advantage Takes Holistic Approach.

Esquivel: Anthem decided it wanted to focus the first year on transportation. Esquivel says offering this service empowers members to get preventive care, like checkups and prescription adherence, which can avoid medical emergencies down the road.

In 2020, the organization is introducing four additional benefits: delivery of non-perishable food items; pest control; financial support for people with chronic conditions; and access to a fitness tracker.

At Anthem, some plans are structured so that members can pick one that is suited to their individual needs. In other service areas, members can use any of the benefits available.

The benefits are simple to use, Esquivel says. If someone wants transportation, they call into the system where an employee determines the type of ride the member needs and sets it up. Or if someone needs access to a device, they call in and are directed to a retailer that sells the product.

Lubitz: Humana Medicare Advantage plans are currently offering a transportation benefit giving rides to medical appointments or covered fitness centers. Nearly half of the company’s 3.5 million Medicare Advantage members nationally will have transportation benefits with their plans next year.

In 2019, the organization also offered Meals on Wheels, social visits, and home safety checks to select members in some plans in Tampa, Louisville, and Richmond, Virginia. For 2020, Humana will add Meals on Wheels food delivery and social visits through its Dual-Eligible Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan in Tennessee. More than 14,000 Humana members will be eligible for meal delivery next year.

Humana will also introduce a primary care virtual visit benefit on all its Medicare Advantage plans in 2020. The offering will come with co-pays from zero dollars to $40, depending on the plan.

Next year, Humana will also have Special Supplemental Benefits for the Chronically Ill on a limited basis in Greenville, S.C., and Snohomish County, Wa. This is a new Medicare Advantage supplemental benefit for people with complex chronic conditions. Some of the options include reduced cost sharing, pest control, meal delivery, fall prevention, and in-home care coordination.

Sergel: Most of UnitedHealthcare’s plans include HouseCalls, a program that offers people an annual in-home health and wellness visit, which Sergel says helps people get needed care, tests, and treatment. The company expects to complete 1.7 million house calls in 2019.

In 2020, UnitedHealthcare will make virtual visits available on most plans, giving more than four million people access to care for minor health issues or behavioral health support, often at no cost.

In 2020, UHC will also implement its Navigate4Me benefit. This personalized, concierge support program is available to Medicare Advantage members facing complex health issues, such as diabetes or congestive heart failure, or experiencing a costly acute event like a knee or hip replacement. Members are offered a single point of contact that coordinates care, deals with claims, and provides social support. The organization anticipates nearly two million members will have access to this program in 2020.

The company’s Medicare Advantage fitness program, Renew Active, will expand next year as well, and be offered in 36 states. The program will include features like a personal fitness plan; access to AARP’s online brain fitness program, Staying Sharp; and the digital Fitbit Community. Renew Active offers access to an extensive network of participating gyms and fitness locations at no additional cost.

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