For the millions of people who rely on Medicare Advantage (MA) plans for their health care needs, the last two years have provided some hope for more comprehensive care in the future. In April 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that they would be expanding MA plan benefits to include even more non-medical services than before.
This will only be the second year that CMS has expanded the breadth of their services to include what are typically considered non-medical services, such as transportation, home meal deliveries, and house cleaning for MA plan beneficiaries. With this action, the CMS has clearly signaled that in-home care could become more important in the coming years.
At Homewatch CareGivers®, our mission is to provide quality in-home care services that effectively “fill the gaps” in our current healthcare system. With the news of this second Medicare Advantage expansion, our experts continue to be optimistic that the conversation is changing on in-home care and related services.
A Shift in Services: How Health Care Is Evolving
In 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services estimated that over 20.8 million individuals would be enrolled for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, making up about 38% of all people who receive Medicare insurance in the United States. As the population grows older, this trend is only expected to continue. However, because seniors often require help with tasks that have been deemed “non-medical” in nature, many have expressed concern that a caregiving crisis could be on the way.
By recognizing the value of home-centered services, the CMS is making great strides to improve care quality. As our own COO Jennifer Tucker shared with Home Health Care News back in April, “It is great to see that the health care system and payers, including CMS, are recognizing that far less expensive and invasive care is valuable to outcomes, as well as beneficiary engagement and satisfaction.”
Resolving the Limitations of Medicare Benefits
Of course, Medicare Advantage plans are still a form of private insurance, and the majority of Medicare recipients can’t afford to purchase them. For the nearly two-thirds of beneficiaries who rely on a standard Medicare plan, there is still no coverage available for non-medical services. In fact, it’s estimated that only 9% of the Medicare population receives any kind of care inside the home.
As experienced in-home care providers, our team at Homewatch CareGivers can provide an effective and meaningful solution to this problem. Because our caregivers assist with things like day-to-day transportation, personal care, homemaking, and other tasks, we can deliver a crucial part of the hands-on care that seniors deserve, and also address the needs of individuals with chronic illnesses and disorders.
While time will only tell if the health system continues to adapt to a changing population, our franchise owners have the unique opportunity to improve seniors’ lives – and improve their communities in the process. If you’re ready to learn more about this opportunity, don’t hesitate to reach out today.
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