Medicare Advantage plans will be more attractive than ever in the upcoming Annual Election Period beginning in October, predicts Patrick Phillips, CEO of Cavulus, a Pittsburgh, Pa.-based technology firm which specializes in the Medicare industry.
“Our technology platform is utilized by Medicare Advantage plans of all sizes across the country, so we always have a pulse on industry trends explains Phillips. “This enrollment season, I expect to see numerous new and uniquely expanded benefits.”
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) responsible for regulating Medicare Advantage (MA), recently eased rules regarding health-related supplemental benefits. As Phillips points out, unlike original Medicare, private plans proactively manage medical costs and are obligated to reinvest savings into benefits. The loosening of benefit rules empowers MA plans to be more creative.
Historically, MA plans include additional benefits such as vision, dental, gym membership and travel. But Phillips forecasts benefits and services emerging that will have meaningful value and address skyrocketing healthcare costs.
He cites Anthem’s “Essential Extras” as an example of enhanced benefit packages that consumers will encounter more commonly. These include home meal deliveries, personal home helpers, and alternative medicines like acupuncture and massage that have been embraced by baby boomers aging into Medicare.
Cavulus CTO Richard Nugen further notes how new benefit designs are attracting tech companies and collaboration that may not have been expected in the MA industry.
“Companies like Lyft are being utilized for transportation benefits.” In a recent Forbes article, Lyft’s vice president of healthcare Megan Callahan said, “We expect to be working with the majority of the largest MA plans by 2020.”
Phillips views new benefits as an alignment with the true aim of healthcare. “The goal is wellness and preventive care versus acute care and treating someone once they’re sick,” he said. He recommends to Medicare beneficiaries shopping this fall to “dig deeper than comparing just cost, network and pharmacy needs, and to investigate plans which offer expanded benefits that you might utilize the most.”
About Cavulus: Cavulus is a technology driven specialist in Medicare Advantage insurance solutions. The Cavulus Cloud-based Medicare Advantage Platform (Cavulus MAP™) unifies marketing, sales and enrollment operations, and is utilized by many of America’s top insurers, including several BlueCross/ BlueShield companies, UPMC Health Plan, SCAN Health Plan, John Hopkins Healthcare, Lumeris and United Healthcare. For details visit www.cavulus.com.