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Surge in 2021 Medicare Advantage Plans Offering In-Home Care Benefits

Published October 5, 2020

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2021 brings a sizable expansion of Medicare Advantage (Medicare Part C) plans offering supplemental benefit programs for non-medical home care

According to data released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), there will be a significant increase in the number of Medicare Advantage plans that cover some home health care benefits, which fall into two categories.  

  • Primarily health related benefits can include in-home supportive services, caregiver support, home-based palliative care, adult day care and therapeutic massage. 

  • Special Supplemental Benefits for the Chronically Ill, or SSBCI, include in-home supportive services and things like transportation help, nutrition assistance, home cleaning services, meal delivery and anything else that can help beneficiaries with chronic illnesses receive care in their home instead of a hospital. 

These types of non-medical home care services are not covered by Original Medicare (Medicare Part A and Part B) and were not covered by any type of Medicare plan until being approved for the Medicare Advantage market in 2018 and 2019. 

How many Medicare Advantage plans cover home health care?

The CMS data shows that 730 Medicare Advantage plans will offer the primarily health-related supplemental benefits in 2021, a 46 percent increase from the 500 plans to do so in 2020. 

Meanwhile, the number of plans to offer SSBCI benefits will increase from just 245 plans in 2020 to 920 plans in 2021. Those plans will reach close to 4.3 million Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. 

Other notable aspects of the report include:

  • More than 440 Medicare Advantage plans will participate in the Medicare Advantage Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model in 2021, which provides healthy foods, transportation support, reduced cost-sharing and more. This is an increase from the number of plans that participated in 2020 and represents nearly 20 times the number of plans that participated in the model in 2019.

  • Over 94 percent of Medicare Advantage plans will offer additional telehealth benefits, up from 58 percent of plans offering such services in 2020.

  • Around 500 plans will introduce lower copayments or additional benefits to those with certain conditions such as diabetes or congestive heart failure.

The Medicare Annual Enrollment Period (AEP, also called the fall Medicare Open Enrollment period) runs from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7 and offers an opportunity for beneficiaries to enroll in a plan that may offer some of the benefits outlined above. 

You can compare Medicare prescription drug plans and Medicare Advantage plans with drug coverage by calling to speak with a licensed insurance agent or by comparing plans online. You’ll be able to find out what types of plans are available near you, their cost, the drugs they cover and more.

If you’re eligible to enroll, you may be able to enroll in a plan online or over the phone.

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