DALLAS, Jan. 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Sixty percent of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries say that their plan does not offer any incentives to take actions, (e.g. annual doctor visit) in order to better manage or improve health. In addition, 75 percent of respondents say their plan does not provide personal health incentives and recommendations and simply provides similar recommendations to the entire population. Most recommendations are for seasonal issues like flu shots (39 percent), and age or gender recommendations (33 percent). Only 15 percent of respondents noted that recommendations were about their chronic condition. The results are based on a 2018 survey of 781 Medicare Advantage beneficiaries with at least one chronic condition conducted by Health Action as a Service company (HAaaS), HealthMine, Inc.
According to the National Council on Aging: "Approximately 80% of older adults have at least one chronic disease, and 77% have at least two. Four chronic diseases—heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes—cause almost two-thirds of all deaths each year. Chronic diseases account for 75 percent of the money our nation spends on health care, yet only 1 percent of health dollars are spent on public efforts to improve overall health."
Results also reveal that beneficiaries are mostly non-compliant. Just 14 percent of beneficiaries always take their health plan's incentives and follow-through on recommended actions, while 54 percent responded that they "sometimes" follow through, and 32 percent noted that they "never" follow through.
"The study was conducted to highlight beneficiaries' perceptions if their health plan provides incentives to manage health," says Bryce Williams, president and CEO of HealthMine. "Because these respondents all have chronic conditions, the study indicates that some plans could improve in helping plan members better manage health outcomes and therefore cost."
Specific questions from the survey below:
Q. Does your health plan offer you any incentives to take actions, (e.g. annual doctor's visit) in order to better manage or improve your health?
Q. How often do you take your health plan's incentives and follow-through on their recommended actions?
Q. Select which of the following statements you believe is most true: 'My health plan...'
Gives SIMILAR incentives and recommendations to population
Gives me PERSONALIZED incentives and recommendations
Q.* Does your health plan send you any REMINDERS or RECOMMENDATIONS about…
Seasonal health issues: flu, allergies etc.
Age/gender recommendations screenings
My chronic condition
Information from a digital tool like heart monitor
No reminders sent
*Totals more than 100% as many respondents have multiple answers
"Health actions is what initiates proper care and disease management," says Williams. "As beneficiaries are incentivized or reminded of health actions, we have a better chance at monitoring and managing chronic illness in the U.S."
First and foremost, plans and providers must be able to know how to communicate with each beneficiary, according to Williams. "Generalizing, older Medicare Advantage beneficiaries may prefer phone communication, or email, while those between the ages of 65 to 70 years might gravitate more to texting and digital communications. But generalizations no longer count. The key to incentivizing people is personalized communication. Beneficiaries want to know their plans care about them and their health."
According to Williams, here are five ways to incentivize positive health actions among patients:
Personalized SMS and email reminders for each member to complete appointments and screenings.
Sweepstakes. Points earned for completing health actions, health coaching, reading articles, tracking health metrics. Users spend on chance to win gift cards.
Direct rewards. 1:1 gift cards earned for completing health actions.
Online health coaching for healthy behavior modification like smoking cessation, checking blood sugar for diabetics, eating a healthy diet for people with chronic heart disease.
Exercise and fitness programs (e.g., Silver Sneakers).
About the Survey The HealthMine Medicare Survey queried 781 insured age 65+ consumers with a chronic condition who are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. Survey Sampling International (SSI) in June/July 2018 fielded the survey. Data were collected via an opt-in panel. The margin of error was three percent (3%). Survey Sampling International (SSI) has been the Worldwide Leader in Survey Sampling and Data Collection Solutions, across every mode, for more than forty years.
About HealthMine, Inc. HealthMine is the only Health Action as a Service company (HAaaS) originally built inside a Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) health plan. HealthMine's services help health plans target and empower individuals to take actions that improve clinical outcomes while decreasing total cost of care and increasing plan revenue. HealthMine is online at www.healthmine.com.