The biggest upheaval in the world of Medicare has companies scrambling. For years Medicare has stuck to its’ guns to not pay for non-medical items. But the Medicare Advantage plans, alternatives to traditional Medicare, have always provided extras like dental and vision. Their comprehensive plans have become quite popular with seniors; probably because they do offer more at reasonable prices. What more can they offer?
Adding In Home Assistance To Your Benefits
This year the administrators of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans made the decision to add payment for in home non-medical assistance. As yet, those specific services are not defined. It is believed that the services will include assistance with housekeeping, personal hygiene and transportation. Nor is there information about prices. There is a ton of work to be done to determine the hows and the how much.
Get Ready, Set, Go Merger
Even though the particulars are not ironed out companies in the know are clamoring to be in the right place. What this means in the corporate world is a heavy dose of business acquisitions, mergers, and partnership agreements. The big players are gobbling up the little guys in an effort to control competition and acquire a larger customer base. Not that this is a bad thing. Companies do it all the time. But it shows that companies see the writing on the wall and don’t want to be left behind. Humana, one of the biggest providers of Medicare Advantage plans, is part owner of Kindred at Home, a post acute home care service. Right at Home, a large in home care assistance company, has now partnered with Kindred. Many companies like these are joining forces and it’s just the tip of the home care iceberg.
No One Has A Crystal Ball
It is not known how big this will be. Judging by the number of business deals surrounding this announcement, it looks to be big. There are thousands of in home assistance agencies and millions of elderly they serve. The major players are positioning themselves at the starting gate. They want to be first in 2019 for the official roll out. Even though no details are worked out, companies are willing to be mavericks and believe they can figure it out along the way.
What Really Matters Is You, The Customer
What will all of this mean to those who use in home assistance? Adding more services sounds like a good idea. There are many seniors currently who can’t afford in home help but they can certainly benefit from it. But will this new program increase their premium payments or out-of-pocket costs? What about the services? You can be sure that there will be many checks and balances on services provided. The payors will be as concerned about abuse and fraudulent claims as they are about helping their customers. It may take awhile to learn all the rules and decide if it is worth it or not.
Traditional Medicare Left In The Dust
Where does this leave customers with traditional Medicare? For now, there are no plans to add this service to their plans. There has been discussion but no progress. Some suspect that this may be Medicare’s way of nudging more people into MA plans. Others think Medicare may be holding out to see if the MA plans can make it work. The MA plans made dental, vision and gym memberships work. There’s little doubt that this will work.