UnitedHealth launching post-discharge home program for group Medicare Advantage plans
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UnitedHealthcare will soon be launching UnitedHealthcare Healthy at Home, the insurer said last week, an offering that’s designed to help retirees safely transition back home after being discharged from a hospital or skilled nursing facility.
Specifically created for Group Retiree Medicare Advantage plans, the plan is geared around providing access to benefits that address a range of social needs, with an eye toward keeping retirees healthy in their homes. Access will be facilitated through employers and plan sponsors.
WHAT’S THE IMPACT
Included in the new program is post-discharge meal delivery, which will provide up to 28 meals (two meals per day for two weeks) following all inpatient or skilled nursing facility discharges for retirees when referred by a UnitedHealthcare advocate. These advocates, UnitedHealth said, will contact patients following their discharges.
Post-discharge transportation will also be provided, and will include up to 12 one-way rides to and from medically related appointments and to the pharmacy following every inpatient or skilled nursing facility discharge.
The final component is in-home personal care, which will provide up to six hours of in-home care following all discharges. Retirees will receive assistance with daily living activities to support their recovery, and follow-up care to help reduce the risk of hospital readmission.
Services will be available every time a retiree is discharged from a hospital or skilled nursing facility. UnitedHealthcare Healthy at Home is being made available to employers with Group Retiree Medicare Advantage plans beginning Jan. 1, 2022.
THE LARGER TREND
In a working paper published in September 2020 from the Mercatus Center, a free-market-oriented think tank based out of George Mason University, professor Philip E. Auerswald argued that removing labor market barriers and technical barriers to entry are vital for realizing the benefits of in-home healthcare.
Home healthcare, as Auerswald describes it, comprises medical house calls, health agency care, technologies such as remote patient-monitoring devices and telehealth.
In March, the U.S. Department of Justice said it was pursuing an investigation of UnitedHealth Group’s $13 billion acquisition of data analytics company Change Healthcare, spurred in part by a letter sent to regulators this month by the American Hospital Association raising antitrust concerns.
According to Change Healthcare in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, both it and UnitedHealth Group received a request for additional information from the DOJ in connection with the ongoing review of the merger, which pushed back the initial 30-day window of the investigation.