Medicare Advantage Plans Cleared To Go Beyond Medical Coverage — Even Groceries

Many Medicare Advantage plans already offer some health benefits not covered by traditional Medicare, such as eyeglasses, hearing aids, dental care and gym memberships. But the new rules set by CMS, which the industry sought, will expand that significantly to items and services that may not be directly considered medical treatment.

“CMS is catching up with the rest of the world in terms of its understanding of how we keep people healthy and well and living longer and independently, and those are all positive steps,” said Ceci Connolly, chief executive officer of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, which represents nonprofit health insurance plans. Some offer non-emergency medical transportation, low-cost hearing aids, a mobile dental clinic and a “grocery on wheels,” to make shopping more convenient, she said.

Medicare Advantage plans announce new items and services this Fall during the Open Enrollment Period, October 15-December 7th. Items and Services may include but are not limited to, air conditioners for people with asthma, healthy groceries, rides to medical appointments and home-delivered meals.

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