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Medicare COVID-19 Data Snapshot: Highlights Healthcare Payers Can Use to Take Action

A recent report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services sheds light on the impact COVID-19 has had on individuals enrolled in Medicare and highlights the importance of understanding the unique needs and concerns of different segments of your current and target member populations.

The use and release of preliminary data is unusual for CMS, which typically releases claims and encounter information on an annual basis when the data is more complete. CMS noted that they were releasing the preliminary COVID-19 case and hospitalization data “as part of (their) efforts to ensure the public has this vital information as soon as it’s available during this public health emergency”. CMS also noted they will be updating the data on a monthly basis, as additional data is received, and they plan to release similar data on Medicaid beneficiaries.

Information for the Preliminary Medicare COVID-19 Data Snapshot is sourced from Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) claims data, Medicare Advantage (MA) encounter data, and Medicare enrollment information.

Key Takeaways

The preliminary data reinforced previous findings that older Americans and those with chronic conditions were mostly likely to be diagnosed with and to be hospitalized due COVID-19. The data also showed that COVID-19 is disproportionately impacting racial and ethnic minority groups and lower income adults, adding confirmation of longstanding healthcare disparities in these populations.

Segments that were significantly more likely to be both diagnosed with COVID-19 and to be hospitalized include:

  • Dual Eligibles (people that qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid due to being both low income and aged or disabled)
    • Dual Eligibles were significantly more likely to be impacted across all other segmentations (age, race, gender, etc.)
  • Those 85+ years of age
  • Black people
  • Those with ESRD (End-Stage Renal Disease) – this group is not currently eligible for Medicare Advantage, but will be able to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans for Plan Year 2021

What This Means for Payers

As the preliminary data highlighted, understanding Medicare member segmentation is critical. Different age groups, races, genders, etc within the Medicare population are impacted differently by diseases (COVID-19 as well as other diseases) and have different concerns and considerations. With this in mind, healthcare payers can leverage segmentation data from the CMS snapshot and other sources to better understand the unique concerns of their members. This insight can be used to develop customized messaging, support and outreach to ensure optimal member experience and to proactively support your members in managing their health.

For example, targeted outreach to members in segments that were more significantly impacted by COVID-19, or those with more acute concerns related to the ongoing risk of COVID-19 can help them ensure that they are in the correct Medicare plan for 2021, and that they are aware of any steps they can or should take to protect themselves. Plans should personalize their messaging to the different Medicare segments and adjust the messaging to the unique concerns of each segment.

This proactive approach to member engagement can have a significant impact on member acquisition and retention in the coming years.

Avtex is Here to Help

Personalized member engagement is crucial for both enrollment and retention of members. Unfortunately, leveraging data to develop personalized outreach isn’t always easy. Avtex has experience helping payers consolidate and supplement data on their current and target member populations, analyzing and creating key micro-segments of their Medicare Advantage population and developing and implementing marketing and communication stratgies targeted to the key concerns and areas of focus for these different segments.

For the upcoming Annual Enrollment Period, as well as ongoing enrollment and member engagement activities, Avtex can help you:

  • Improve your Customer Insights processes and collection of relevant data
  • Advance your ability to micro-segment your current and target members population
  • Personalize your Medicare Advantage marketing messaging to make sure you are addressing your member’s unique needs and concerns based on your key population segmentation
  • Maximize your marketing spend/resources
  • Improve member retention and acquisition

For more information, contact us today.