Supplemental benefit considerations in a COVID-19 world

Medicare Advantage (MA) plans must cover all benefits offered by original Medicare. MA plans may offer extra benefits such as dental and vision, called “supplemental benefits,” that are tailored to improve the health of existing members, appeal to prospective members, or provide the benefit of group purchasing power.

With the widespread nature of COVID-19, social distancing measures have become a daily practice that affects most Americans right now and have the potential to affect seniors for a longer duration. Some supplemental benefits like a fitness benefit, which are intended to keep seniors active, may not achieve their intended goals when gyms are closed or discouraged for high-risk individuals.

In this brief, Milliman’s John Rogers, Annie Man, and Kyle Hutmaker examine how MA plans might think about offering supplemental benefits for 2021. While no one knows what will happen with COVID-19 in 2021, in the absence of a vaccine or other curative treatment, MA plans should consider the possible effects of the disease well into the future.