HCN News & Notes

Most Medicare Advantage Members Don’t Feel Incentivized to Improve Health

DALLAS — Sixty percent of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries say their plan does not offer any incentives to take actions (such as an annual doctor visit) in order to better manage or improve health. In addition, 75{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of respondents say their plan does not provide personal health incentives and recommendations and simply provides similar recommendations to the entire population.

Most recommendations are for seasonal issues like flu shots (39{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}), and age or gender recommendations (33{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5}). Only 15{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of respondents noted that recommendations were about their chronic condition. The results are based on a 2018 survey of 781 Medicare Advantage beneficiaries with at least one chronic condition conducted by HealthMine Inc.

According to the National Council on Aging, “approximately 80{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of older adults have at least one chronic disease, and 77{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} have at least two. Four chronic diseases — heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes — cause almost two-thirds of all deaths each year. Chronic diseases account for 75{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of the money our nation spends on healthcare, yet only 1{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of health dollars are spent on public efforts to improve overall health.”

Results also reveal that beneficiaries are mostly non-compliant. Just 14{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of beneficiaries always take their health plan’s incentives and follow-through on recommended actions, while 54{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} responded that they sometimes follow through, and 32{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} noted that they never follow through. 

“The study was conducted to highlight beneficiaries’ perceptions if their health plan provides incentives to manage health,” says Bryce Williams, president and CEO of HealthMine. “Because these respondents all have chronic conditions, the study indicates that some plans could improve in helping plan members better manage health outcomes and therefore cost.”

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