Medicare Advantage program managers abruptly encouraged insurers to jam a few non-medical “supplemental benefits” into their benefits packages for 2019.
Some insurers added the kinds of benefits that might be covered by a short-term care insurance or long-term care insurance (LTCI) policy, such as adult day care services, homemaker services, and support for caregivers.
Officials at the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) recently put more fleshed-out rules for “chronic care” benefits in a draft version of a bidding document for the 2020 Medicare Advantage program.
Insurance company executives now have time to decide, in an orderly way, if they want to build chronic care benefits into their 2020 Medicare Advantage plan benefits menus.
In theory, the chronic care benefits provision could be the start of Medicare creeping into the long-term care benefits business, or a dead end, or the beginning of an era in which Medicare simply provides want amounts to small promotional samples of LTCI-type samples. Medicare sample-size LTC benefits could help sell consumers on the idea of buying full-size short-care insurance or LTCI policies.
The recent Intercompany Long Term Care Insurance Conference presented a session on the topic.
The speakers included Howard Gleckman of the Urban Institute, Jay Greenberg of NCO Services, and Anne Tumlinson, a consultant who previously served as a senior vice president at Avalere Health.
Here’s a look at five speaker insights about the new Medicare Advantage chronic care benefits, drawn from the speakers’ slidedeck.
1. The 2020 chronic care benefits seem to replace the 2019 supplemental benefits, not supplement them.
The benefits offered in new short-term care insurance and LTCI policies tend to hold fairly steady from year to year.
Consumers who buy LTCI policies can lock in benefits for many years.
The new Medicare Advantage chronic care benefits “can vary from year to year,” according to the Medicare Advantage LTC session speakers.
2. The number of insurers offering chronic care benefits seems likely to grow.
In part because the opportunity appeared with such little advance notice, only a limited number of issuers submitted bids in 2019, according to the Medicare Advantage LTC speakers.