Medicare Part B covers a range of preventive services that enrollees can take advantage of without copayments, cost-sharing, or having to first meet their deductible.
Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, states receiving funding under the Medicare Improvement for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) are required to promote these services to all people with Medicare, in addition to their outreach around benefits for low-income beneficiaries.
Here are several successful strategies shared by MIPPA grantees for how they’ve promoted these often underutilized services.
Each year, the Virginia Insurance Counseling Assistance Program (VICAP) creates a calendar that highlights different preventive services each month. In addition, the calendar includes a tear-off sheet at the back that asks for contact information and monthly income with an addressed envelope so that beneficiaries can send it to the VICAP to begin the screening process for Extra Help.
To keep costs down, the VICAP only print 7,000-8,000 calendars each year to distribute via local offices during Medicare Open Enrollment Period outreach events and counseling sessions. In addition, the VICAP developed rack cards that are distributed throughout the year—one for preventive services, one for the Annual Wellness Visit, and one for Extra Help. VICAP notes that the calendars are very well received; the beneficiaries love them!
National days/months of recognition
In Missouri, MIPPA grantees have created a 2016 outreach plan that uses National Days/Months of Recognition topics—for example, American Heart Month or National Diabetes Month —to coincide with information on preventive services. These recognition days/months will also be woven into content developed for outreach booths, monthly survey mailings from the call center, newsletter articles for use by our community partners, presentations, and more.
A paycheck for senior health
One New York county has created a sample “paycheck” to share with Medicare beneficiaries that highlights how these screenings are priceless to maintaining their health. The paycheck is included in a flyer that lists all of the free preventive services.
Counselors circulate this paycheck and flyer during Medicare 101 presentations at senior centers, where they talk about how important prevention is and how it saves on costs. Flyers are also circulated at fairs, in the counselors’ offices, and are sent to doctors’ offices to hang on their walls.