August 19, 2022
This is an interesting in article, just published yesterday from JD Power regarding Medicare Advantage (MA) plans and mental health coverage.
According to the study conducted by JD Power, patient satisfaction with MA plans has increased in the last year, however, patients have indicated that there is inadequate coverage for mental health and substance use disorders. The senior population has been significantly affected by the pandemic (loneliness, isolation), including many aspects around Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) such as Community, Safety & Social Context (e.g., social integration, support systems, community engagement) and Health Care System (e.g., health coverage, access/availability, and quality of care).
The study also found that telehealth services amongst the MA population surveyed was popular, although there was a decrease in actual use of these services in 2022.
There is a increasing need for mental health access/services, which incorporate telehealth. MA plans and PCP providers managing the care of MA patients are aware that mental health coverage and services are necessary and key to the overall well-being and health of their patients. (PCP providers have tried numerous ways to help support their patients who need behavioral health services. For example, they contracted with Behavioral Health clinicians to provide services during certain days of the week at the PCPs offices, so that patients could have both a medical visit with the PCP and a mental health visit on the same day…one trip. Then, they would offer telehealth services and help ‘train’ the patients on the technology necessary to have the telehealth visit. Access to technology and the knowledge to use the technology is a large part of the challenges our senior population face, when it comes to having alternative access to care.)
Lots of great movement in this arena these days.