To support aging in place, Medicare Advantage plans offer access to preventive programs and home- and community-based care that help minimize hospitalizations and promote better health at home. Aetna Medicare explains how they work and 4 community programs that improve access to care.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a change many were predicting – the shift to home- and community-based healthcare.
As more than 90% of older adults prefer to age in place, they’re embracing home-based care as the future – and, in turn, so must the healthcare industry.
As a caregiver, you might be wondering how to best help your loved one navigate their healthcare.
Through Medicare Advantage plans, family caregivers can help the older adults in their lives get the care they need, where and when they want it.
Through benefits like care management programs, telehealth, fall prevention, and in-home care, Medicare Advantage can support and encourage aging in place and increase access to care for older adults who may benefit from this new approach.
Preventive measures minimize hospitalizations and promote better health at home
Caregivers understand better than anyone else their loved one’s desire to stay at home as they grow older.
But, as those 65 and over have almost a 70% chance of needing long-term care services and support in their remaining years, we must continue innovating to cater to their needs and wants.
Thankfully, there are a number of preventive measures that your loved one’s health plan can provide to minimize hospitalizations and promote better health at home.
Medicare Advantage plans offer older adults care management benefits and offerings that promote aging in place.
For example, Aetna Medicare Advantage plans offer many of their members chronic care management programs and a Healthy Aging Support program that make it easier for them to manage their conditions and, ultimately, their total health.
Other helpful initiatives include readmission-prevention programs that equip older adults and their caregivers with the tools and resources to avoid re-hospitalizations after hospital stays.
Telehealth also plays a significant role in delivering comprehensive, personalized, high-quality care to our communities, and the COVID-19 pandemic helped accelerate the adoption of these services.
For example, Aetna saw significant rises in telehealth utilization – in 2020 telehealth accounted for 13% of all primary care visits, 6% for specialist visits, and a staggering 38% for mental and behavioral health visits.
These numbers reflect how telehealth undoubtedly shaped the way individuals care for their health and how healthcare providers operate.
As a result, many healthcare plans expanded telehealth benefits for members this year – spanning primary, urgent, and specialty care, including mental health services.
Make sure to check out your loved one’s healthcare plan benefits to learn more about what offerings are available.
By delivering services to individuals in the comfort of their own homes, we can encourage them to get care more regularly and in a way that is most convenient for them, forging a path towards accessible and equitable healthcare.
4 programs that increase access to care in the community
Creating more community-focused care options is a critical piece of the total health puzzle.
It’s essential to choose a healthcare plan that makes it easier to get the care you need within your community – whether that be mental or physical health.
1. Stay active with SilverSneakers
For example, for older adults, engaging in regular physical activity is crucial.
Staying active can mitigate the effects of aging, by maintaining mobility, preventing or managing chronic conditions and increasing quality of life overall.
Programs like SilverSneakers®, which offers online fitness classes and videos, are great resources for your older loved ones who wish to stay active while at home, on the go or within their community.
2. Use local pharmacy clinics for quick, simple healthcare
In addition, local pharmacies or clinics can also play a role in the health of older adults.
CVS Health Minute Clinic® and HealthHUB® locations, for instance, offer quality, affordable healthcare both in person and via telehealth appointments. This makes it easy to get care for a minor illness or injury in a convenient setting.
3. Get companionship through Papa Pals
Additionally, Medicare Advantage plans often offer older adults programs that address key components of good health.
For example, select Medicare Advantage plans offer access to Papa Pals, which connects older adults to youthful companions who can provide support, whether that be social or everyday assistance.
From general companionship to help with grocery shopping or household chores, Papa Pals provide much needed support for older adults, as well as their caregivers.
4. Use additional healthcare support programs
Additionally, some plans offer their members additional support through programs like Aetna Medicare’s Resources for Living®.
These programs are aimed at increasing access to services and resources within your loved one’s community, from help at home to caregiver support.
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Guest contributors: Christopher Ciano is President of Aetna Medicare. As a former caregiver for his parents, Christopher brings a unique perspective to the Medicare conversation. He oversees operations and business strategy for Aetna’s robust portfolio of Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare prescription drug plans and Medicare Supplement plans. An advocate for the aging population, Christopher is passionate about simplifying health care and helping Aetna’s more than 9.7 million Medicare members nationwide achieve their best health.
Dr. Jamie Sharp serves as Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Aetna Medicare, a CVS Health company. An internal medicine physician, Jamie brings her experience with patient primary care and post-acute care transition for older adults to her role at Aetna. She develops, implements and promotes strategies, policies, and programs that drive the delivery of holistic care. She also champions strategic initiatives that impact clinical results and improve the member experience for Aetna’s rapidly growing Medicare business.
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