Medicare has changed the way many seniors and Medicare eligibles receive healthcare. Medicare history dates as far back as 1912 when President Roosevelt first discussed national health coverage. As we reflect on Medicare’s past, we should also look into the future. Medicare will continue to evolve, especially as technology advances and Medicare Advantage plans increase in popularity. So what does the future of Medicare look like?
Technology has changed how we do nearly everything. Technological advancements in communication, monitoring and data processes, experiments, and even health tools have drastically impacted the health industry. These advancements don’t just impact beneficiaries – they impact you too! Can you imagine selling Medicare without the internet at your fingertips?
The first wireless phone wasn’t invented until 1973, but look how far they’ve come! Many doctor offices are completely digital! Plus, telehealth is a huge advancement in technology. Telehealth allows beneficiaries to get quality healthcare without leaving their home. The CHRONIC Care act has allowed Medicare Advantage plans to provide alternative health coverage, including telehealth for anyone who lives in a Health Professional Shortage Area. This is a great addition to the healthcare industry.
Data and monitoring processes have allowed for new advancements in healthcare, including electronic health records (EHRs). EHRs were not introduced until the 1970’s. Since then, numerous acts, including HIPAA, have improved EHRs and created safeguards for patients and health professionals. Plus, most hospital records are digitized. This helps reduce the number of errors in patient records, prescriptions, and diagnoses and allow Medicare to become more efficient and reliable.
Experiments with virtual reality and artificial intelligence have contributed to many new discoveries impacting healthcare. Researchers are experimenting with virtual reality tools to help spark old memories. Plus, artificial intelligence has led to devices like Amazon’s Alexa. These devices can create a sense of comfort and security for seniors and Medicare eligibles in the event of a fall or other emergency.
Thanks to technology, many health tools and trackers have been created. These tools can record statistics including blood pressure, blood sugars, ketones, glucose levels, and more! Plus, there are numerous health-focused tools and apps on the market. Consumers can choose from fitbits, Apple watches, and over 300,000 health apps on the market. These apps made counting calories, tracking workouts, and researching healthy recipes that much easier!
Medicare Advantage plans are relatively recent on Medicare’s timeline and did not exist until 2003. The Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 helped create Medicare Part C, also known as Medicare Advantage. According to the Henry J Kaiser Family Foundation, enrollment has tripled to 19 million beneficiaries since 2003. Most Medicare Advantage plans offer prescription drug coverage and some may even offer dental, vision, and hearing coverage.
As Medicare Advantage plan popularity continues to increase, it is likely that carriers will continue to add extra benefits to their consumers. SilverSneakers is a great example of this. These extra benefits must first be approved by CMS. However, in 2018, CMS changed the definition of “primary health-related benefits” and more benefits may be added in upcoming years.
The future of Medicare will continue to be influenced by technology and Medicare Advantage, so it’s best to be prepared. At Senior Market Advisors, we give you all the tools for optimal success! This means no matter what the future holds, you’re ready! As an SMA agent, you’ll receive a free custom quote engine that provides accurate and streamlined quotes, access to a custom lead management system to make appointment setting a breeze, and so much more! Ready to contract? Visit agentcontract.com to start digitally contracting, or click here to get in touch with one of our agent advisors.