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Medicare Advantage Plans are testing a broad array of complementary health plan innovations stimulated by the Medicare Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model. With an expected enrollment of 27 million beneficiaries by the end of next year, plans are testing more supplemental benefits.

Part of the increase is due to CMS’ announcement of Medicare beneficiaries with End-Stage Renal Disease to now have the option to enroll in an MA plan in 2021.

Medicare Advantage Penetration, By State, 2019

Enrollees will also see extra benefits in their choices this year that typically are not covered in traditional Medicare tied to chronic care management and socioeconomic status.

  • Most (94 percent) of MA plans will offer additional telehealth benefits. In 2020, only 58 percent of plans offered telehealth benefits.
  • Fifty-three MA plans will offer increased access to palliative care and integrated hospice care to their enrollees through the MA Value-Based Insurance Design Model.
  • Nearly 730 plans will offer supplemental benefits, such as adult day health services, caregiver support services, in-home support services, therapeutic massage, or home-based palliative care.
  • An estimated 500 plans will offer enrollees with certain conditions, such as diabetes and congestive heart failure, with access to lower copayments or additional benefits such as meals and transportation.
  • Roughly 920 plans will offer benefits tailored to people which chronic conditions to help them better manage these benefits. Some of these benefits include pest control, home cleaning services, meal home delivery, and transportation for non-medical reasons such as trips to the grocery store.
  • The 440 MA plans that participate in the 2021 MA Value-Based Insurance Design Model will feature additional benefits, such as healthy foods and meals, transportation support, reduced cost-sharing, and rewards and incentives aligned with Part D drugs. CMS said it will release a request for applications, including for the hospice benefit component, for the MA Value-Based Insurance Design Model 2022 plan year later this fall.

The share of Medicare beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage plans (including Medicare cost plans), varies across the country. In 28 states and Puerto Rico, at least 31 percent of Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, with more than 40 percent of enrollees in six states (HI, FL, MN, OR, WI, PA) and Puerto Rico.

The majority of the Medicare private health plan enrollment in Minnesota has historically been in cost plans, rather than Medicare Advantage plans, but as of 2019, most cost plans in Minnesota are no longer offered and have been replaced with risk-based HMOs and PPOs. Medicare Advantage enrollment is relatively low (20 percent or lower) in 14 states and the District of Columbia, including two mostly rural states where it is virtually non-existent (AK and WY).

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