New CMS Requirement Provides Opportunity to Drive Member Engagement

5/17/2024 Cindy Thomas

New CMS Requirement Provides Opportunity to Drive Member Engagement

Among the recently issued final rules from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for Medicare Advantage plans is a new requirement for mid-year notifications. The new rule states that plans must now issue personalized “Mid-Year Enrollee Notification of Unused Supplemental Benefits” annually between June 30th and July 31st to notify members about unused supplemental benefits during the first six months of the year.

In addition, the notice must include the scope of the benefit, cost-sharing, instructions on how to access the benefit, any network application information for each available benefit, and a customer service number to call if additional help is needed. Although nearly all MA plans offer at least one supplemental benefit, enrollee utilization of these benefits is low. This rule is designed to help make sure enrollees take advantage of these supplemental benefits paid for by a substantial federal investment of taxpayer dollars.

While adding another recurring member communication may sound like an administrative burden, forward-thinking health plans should instead view this as a prime opportunity to boost member engagement and satisfaction. By leveraging personalization capabilities through an experienced print, mail, and communications partner, these required notifications can be transformed from regulatory notices into engaging messages that drive member wellness.

Customizing the experience

Using individualized care plans (ICPs) and available claims data, plans can customize the content and presentation of the mid-year notices. Rather than simply provide customers with a generic list of unused benefits, consider tailoring the communication to promote the specific supplemental offerings most relevant to the recipient. 

You can take this one step further by including personalized URLs (PURLs). These provide a customized online experience for each member, highlighting supplemental benefits they’re entitled to along with resources they can use to get more information. Another option is to link the print communication to a customized digital product (such as a Digimag®), which can further explain the benefits highlighted in the print communication.

Another option is sending members a supplemental benefits box containing items curated from benefits partners. The boxes can be tailored to each recipient, and can include information about how to access the available supplemental benefits. RRD’s free guide is full of tips to help build a successful benefits box project. 

By combining the wow factor of a benefits box with the power of PURLs, these required mid-year notifications can become a mechanism for increased engagement. These additional items empower members to explore and take advantage of benefits that can improve their overall health outcomes. 

Creating a win-win

Health plans that view this rule as an opportunity to enhance their communications strategy can turn an administrative task into a valuable engagement touchpoint — one that positively impacts quality measures, member satisfaction, and retention. 

With the right print and mail partner — one experienced in personalized, omnichannel engagement for Medicare populations — health plans can efficiently meet this new CMS requirement in a way that encourages members to get more value from their plan. This approach makes it a win-win for plans — and members.

Cindy Thomas is the Director of Business Development for RRD Healthcare Solutions.

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