Also see:   Why Medicare Advantage Plans Should Super-Size Baseline Prevention Screenings - 4/1/2022 
    Also see:   Humana, Anthem, Bright HealthCare Head List of Most Favorable Part D Values - 2/1/2022 
    Also see:   2023 Medicare Plan Finder Initiative -- Build, Back, Smarter - 1/3/2022 
    Also see:   Part D Best Values for Commonly Prescribed Maintenance Drugs - 12/15/2021

Addressing Inflation Essential for Successful OEP, Age-in, Member Retention, AEP Strategies   

 February 27, 2022    

    Whether ‘transient’ or ‘stubbornly persistent’, inflation is impacting everyone’s daily lives.  Among those of us on Medicare, the impact is compounded by uncertainty over the personal costs associated with accessing health care services and prescription drugs both now and into 2023.  Medicare Advantage (MA+Part D) members situated within the weakest socio-economic profile – fixed income, modest savings, limited work options – now comprise an ever-growing segment of the 27 million enrolled in MA+Part D who are least prepared to absorb the inflation impact.   

    Recent evidence that inflation worries are an uppermost concern among older adults was reported by Kelsey Waddill at  
“Although Medicare Advantage premiums dropped for 2022, Medicare Part D and Medicare Part B premiums saw significant increases.  CMS blamed rising prices, significant decreases in the 2021 Medicare Part B premium, and contingency reserves for a controversial Alzheimer's drug for creating the highest Medicare Part B premium hike in recorded history.  Medicare beneficiaries are feeling the impact, according to the survey. Nearly one in five Medicare beneficiaries (18 percent) say that covering healthcare costs will be “very difficult.”  See “Medicare Premiums, Inflation Create Affordability Challenges: After a historic increase in Medicare Part B premiums, seniors struggle to cover healthcare expenses” 

What inflation messaging can MA+Part D plans do today? 

  • Demonstrate how to differentiate the most/least favorable out-of-pocket cost-sharing for health services among the popular $0 premium 2022 MA+Part D products. See 2022 Medicare Advantage Plan Cost Comparisons
  • Demonstrate how to differentiate the most/least favorable out-of-pocket cost-sharing for commonly prescribed maintenance drugs among the popular $0 premium 2022 MA+Part D products. See Part D Best Values for Commonly Prescribed Maintenance Drugs
  • Remind members how to access and utilize supplemental benefits – e.g., OTC personal care items, fitness programs, meal delivery, transportation, telemedicine.
  • Encourage cost-saving benefits and prevention measures that can reduce the risk of utilizing more costly benefits.

What inflation-mitigation measures should be 2023 priority considerations for MA+Part D plans? 

  • Provide full or partial Part B premium giveback options to all members.
  • Reduce maximum annual OOPC thresholds for health services.
  • Eliminate Part D annual deductibles.
  • Expand the selection of ‘preferred generic’ drugs (Tier 1) eligible for $0 copays.
  • Expand the selection of ‘preferred brand’ drugs (Tier 3) eligible for lowest copays.
  • Enhance dental benefits to include expanded coverage for restorative dental services.
  • Enhance vision benefits.
  • Enhance hearing aid benefits.

    Bottomline:  Addressing inflation pressures in messaging to both current and prospective members is essential to help overcome the real ‘fear factors’ that Medicare beneficiaries and caregivers are experiencing today.  Ignoring the 'inflation elephant' in the room is only hoping that inflation worries will dissipate before Medicare-eligibles shop elsewhere for more affordable options.    



HealthMetrix Research Inc.

Alan Mittermaier, President 
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