Key Takeaways

As people age into Medicare, many opt for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. Since 2015, the total number of MA enrollees has increased by around 88% — from 16 million to 30 million.

And as enrollment growth coincides with higher member expectations, it creates a more complex consumer landscape for MA plans. A Medicare Shopping study by McKinsey in 2021 found nearly half of Medicare beneficiaries now value digital offerings to improve health when considering the right coverage.

With over 50% of those beneficiaries enrolled in MA, a digital-first approach is no longer optional for staying competitive — it’s a necessity. Let’s explore some key benefits of digital healthcare for MA plans.

1. Promote health literacy and reinforce preventive care

Preventive care is critical for reducing the chance of foreseeable conditions. For aging populations, routine screenings and checkups could improve quality of life — and even extend it. For payors, they can help improve quality scores and reduce costs.

But it’s widely accepted that ensuring people understand the importance of preventive care hinges heavily on health literacy — the ability to find, understand, and use healthcare information. So how do MA plans empower their members with the right resources throughout their care journeys?

That’s where digital healthcare can come into play. Forward-thinking technology proactively engages members and equips them with information to navigate care. Intelligent care enablement platforms personalize prompts and resources to specifically address members’ conditions, ensuring the right information gets to the right person at the right time.

2. Help reduce readmissions and improve performance on Medicare quality measures with intelligent care enablement

There are various reasons why individuals find themselves back at the hospital shortly after they’ve been discharged. These include failed care coordination, new and unexpected symptoms, and treatment compliance issues. 

Whatever the reason, readmissions put a lot of stress on members and are costly to the healthcare system. Medicare alone pays $26 billion on them every year. Beyond readmissions, declining Medicare Star Ratings can mean significant lost revenue for MA plans. 

Digital health tools provide valuable functionality that can help MA plans reduce readmissions, close gaps in care, and improve performance on Medicare Star Ratings. These include care coordination support, medication adherence reminders, and member-reported outcomes data collection. Novel intelligent care enablement platforms take things a step further, using natural language processing (NLP) to interpret user questions and provide answers to routine post-discharge questions, possibly helping preempt most worries about predictable symptoms or side effects and facilitate better care outcomes for Medicare members.

3. Extend care to more members

Expanding access to quality care should be a priority across health organizations. For MA plans that principally service aging populations, ensuring enrollees understand their options is key for providing the right coverage for each individual and making sure members are satisfied. 

Health plan websites often provide people with helpful online resources and tools to get more information about their insurance. But two in five aging people don’t have access to the internet. So how do MA plans close this gap to expand quality care to those without broadband?

The best healthtech is built with everyone in mind. Inclusive digital healthcare platforms are developed with an understanding of the barriers at-risk populations experience when seeking care. An example is Memora Health’s intelligent care enablement platform that uses SMS text messaging to eliminate user friction associated with remembering portal usernames or passwords, accommodate users without internet access, and help individuals interact with their health plans — whether they have a flip phone or a smartphone.

4. Improve member experience 

The future of Medicare — and health plans more broadly — will center more and more on optimizing  member experience. That being said, payors have a long way to go until they can meet members’ expectations. 

One study found that around 80% of healthcare consumers want to use a digital health platform to manage both care and insurance benefits. However, the same research discovered half have had problems accessing what they want from existing applications. And this trend seems to span age groups, with almost 65% of aging patients extremely or somewhat interested in using a unified healthtech solution to manage various aspects of care.

To truly support the member experience in a new digital era, MA plans will need a comprehensive, always-on intelligent care enablement tool that will satisfy their members throughout care journeys and beyond. Effective digital healthcare technology can guide members through finding an in-network provider, remind them about their annual physical exams, and help them take advantage of their benefits. And understanding and assisting members before, after, and between healthcare visits with personalized engagement is key for any comprehensive, digital-forward strategy that leaves enrollees feeling heard and supported.

Meeting the evolving expectations of MA members means understanding how aging individuals seek and choose care, what daily healthcare challenges they face, and where to reach them to provide the right assistance when they need it. Digital healthcare technology can help payors prepare for a new member experience frontier in a digital-first environment.

Want to learn more about harnessing the power of intelligent care enablement for your Medicare Advantage plan? Speak with one of our experts!