HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C., Sept. 9, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Medicare benefits would be expanded under a $3.5 trillion budget plan outlined by Senate Democrats on August 9th. The proposal aims to add vision, hearing and dental benefits to Original Medicare (also known as Traditional Medicare or Parts A and B), which, according to Cavulus CEO Patrick Phillips, a leading provider of technology in the sector, is lagging behind private insurance offerings.
“In Medicare’s nearly 60 years of existence, there’s been surprisingly little benefit expansion,” says Phillips. “Substantive changes have been debated in past decades, but mainly preventive measures were added; pneumonia vaccination coverage for instance.”
In contrast, extra benefits have been routine in the private sector, known as Medicare Advantage (MA) or Parts C and D, since the program’s inception in 2006. According to a recent analysis from Avalere, “the big 3 supplemental benefits (vision, hearing, and dental) are now almost universally available (98%, 94%, and 91%, respectively).”
Phillips believes competition is fueling rapid benefit expansion among MA insurer’s, which increases value for Medicare beneficiaries who opt for private insurance. “In terms of premium and copay costs, MA plans often look similar. This category of non-medical services that the MA industry refers to as supplemental benefits, has become a differentiator, and more importantly, mechanisms to treat people more holistically,” says Phillips.
“The MA supplemental benefit trend is centered around meeting beneficiary’s needs in-home”, according to the Cavulus CEO. He points to meal benefits, in-home support services, and even home modifications as recent examples. “Technology is evolving around in-home monitoring devices and wearables; and in response to Covid, telehealth benefits have skyrocketed,” explains Phillips.
“I support the addition of new benefits to Original Medicare, but the proposal still has a long way to go. In the meantime, there’s a responsiveness in Medicare Advantage that is driving the program’s popularity”, asserted Phillips. He notes that in 2021, there are more than 26 million people enrolled in an MA plan, which is 42 percent of the total Medicare population.
ABOUT CAVULUS – Cavulus is a technology driven specialist in Medicare Advantage insurance solutions. Its 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, Johns Hopkins, Lumeris and United Healthcare. For details visit: www.cavulus.com.
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