Fewer Plans Offer Supplemental Benefits for Serious Illness in 2020

Fewer plans than expected added supplemental benefits such as home care for seriously ill patients in 2020, according to a new report from Healthcare Dive.

A minority of Medicare Advantage plans have added benefits targeted at enrollees with serious chronic illnesses. In 2019, 507 MA plans, or 11% of the total number of plans, offered supplemental benefits. Fewer plans — 377, or 7% — will offer supplemental benefits in 2020, but the reduction is based largely on the actions of one national payer, according to a new study from the Duke Margolis Center for Health Policy.

The benefits for seriously ill enrollees include: adult daycare (63 plans in 2020), palliative care (23 plans in 2019 and 58 in 2020), non-opioid pain management (24 plans in 2019 and 201 plans in 2020), in-home support services (71 plans in 2019 and 148 in 2020), and caregiver support (389 plans in 2019 and 82 plans in 2020).

These supplemental benefits for seriously ill enrollees are more likely to be available in urban areas than rural areas or in areas with higher concentrations of Medicare-eligible seniors who are enrolled in MA plans, the study found.

Click here to read the full report from Healthcare Dive.