CMS is adding flexibility to their expansion of benefits by redefining health-related supplemental benefits to include services that increase health and improve quality of life, including coverage of non-skilled in-home supports and more. Hospice care and palliative care are considered as well as supplemental benefits down the road. Benefits will only be available to some of the participants of Medicare Advantage plans. These benefits will not be extended to original Medicare.
Supplemental benefits described in this clause are supplemental benefits that, with respect to a chronically ill enrollee, have a reasonable expectation of improving or maintaining the health or overall function of the chronically ill enrollee and may not be limited to being primarily health-related benefits.”
From the CMS release :
“Our priority is to ensure that our seniors have more choices and lower premiums in their Medicare health and drug plans,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “We are focused on addressing the specific needs of beneficiaries and providing new flexibilities for Medicare Advantage plans to offer new health-related benefits. This is a big win for patients.”
CMS has previously not allowed an item or service to be eligible as a supplemental benefit if the primary purpose included daily maintenance. Under the new policy announced today, CMS would allow supplemental benefits if they compensate for physical impairments, diminish the impact of injuries or health conditions, and/or reduce avoidable emergency room utilization.