An updated report by ATI Advisory reveals a spike in the number of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans that now offer home-based care services.

The number of MA plans that are taking the opportunity to offer home-based services to their enrollees in 2023 is almost three times larger than in 2020, according to a new report.

ATI Advisory, an aging and disability research and consulting firm based in the District of Columbia, said in its analysis of expanded primary health-related benefits (EPHRB) that 2,618 counties in 45 states and Washington, D.C. have at least one plan with an EPHRB available to members. EPHRBs include in-home support services, adult day health services, home-based palliative care, and therapeutic massage support for caregivers of enrollees.

The updated report finds that 1,438 plans offer at least one of these benefits in 2023 compared to 490 plans in 2020:

  • In-home support services, which assist individuals with disabilities and/or medical conditions in performing activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) within the home, have seen the most growth. There are 1,091 MA plans in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, that will offer in-home support services in 2023. Three years ago, that number was 223.
  • Home-based palliative care services are available to MA members in 157 plans in 17 states this year. These services are provided to diminish symptoms of terminally ill members with a life expectancy greater than six months not covered by Medicare. Sixty-one plans offered the benefit in 2020.
  • Support for caregivers of enrollees, which includes respite care for short periods of time, is offered by 293 plans in 24 states and Puerto Rico. In 2020, that number was 125.
  • Adult day health services and therapeutic massage are the only EPHRBs that have seen a decline over the past three years in the number of plans that offer the benefits. Adult day health services are provided outside the home such as assistance with ADLs/IADLs, education to support performance of ADLs/IADLs, physical maintenance/rehabilitation activities, and social work services. In 2023, 41 plans in five states will offer adult day health services to MA members. Eighty-four plans offered the benefit in 2020. Therapeutic massage will be offered in 188 MA plans in 22 plans and Puerto Rico in 2023. The benefit is a medically approved non-opioid pain treatment alternative ordered by a physician or medical professional. Three years ago, 221 MA plans offered the benefit.

The latest figures are welcomed news because it shows MA plans are taking steps to address members’ well-being and keep them safe at home.

“Providing health care in the home is a tremendous opportunity for MA plans to make up for some of the access issues of social and economic inequities,” said Kevin Mowll, who serves as chair of the RISE Association’s Medicare Member Acquisition & Experience Community. “This augmentation can be more consciously and specifically targeted for those who have not received adequate care previously, who are shut-ins, or who have transportation issues that inhibit their abilities to get themselves to care.”