This brief presents data showing recent and projected growth of expanded supplemental benefits offered by Medicare Advantage (MA) plans — such as meals, transportation, and in-home support services.
In recent years, MA plans have had increased flexibilities to design benefits that aim to improve health outcomes and lower costs for people with complex health and social needs. This Commonwealth Fund brief examines plan benefit package and enrollment data from 2018 to 2020. It highlights how MA plans have responded to these new flexibilities and offered these new nonmedical benefits.
Overall, MA plan adoption of expanded supplemental benefits varied by benefit type. Although the number of plans offering certain nonmedical benefits — such as meals, transportation, in-home support services, and acupuncture — doubled between 2018 and 2020, other nonmedical benefits covering social support services like home-based palliative care or adult day care remained largely unchanged. Only six percent of MA plans offered Special Supplemental Benefits for the Chronically Ill in 2020, which are only available to enrollees with specific chronic conditions. This brief also examines data on how Special Needs Plans that serve enrollees with complex health needs have offered expanded supplemental benefits.
MA plan adoption of expanded supplemental benefits varied from 2018 to 2020, but preliminary analysis of 2021 plan benefits suggests that access to these benefits will continue to grow as plans refine their strategies around addressing health-related social needs.