Aetna says 2021 Medicare Advantage plans spotlight members' 'total health'

Aetna sign
Aetna has released its slate of Medicare Advantage plans for 2021. (Wonderlane, CC BY 2.0)

Aetna is growing its slate of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans into 115 new counties for 2021, reaching an additional 1.9 million Medicare beneficiaries.

All told, Aetna's MA plans will be offered in 1,793 counties across 46 states and the District of Columbia, making its plans accessible to 54.7 million Medicare beneficiaries nationwide.

Much like its peers in the industry, Aetna is putting a focus on telehealth in its MA plans for next year, as the COVID-19 pandemic has driven significant interest in virtual care. The insurer said it will offer virtual primary and urgent care visits, including sick visits, prescription refills and after-hours or weekend visits, across all of its MA plans.

Select MA plans will also include coverage for virtual mental and behavioral health visits, Aetna said.

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"Now more than ever, it's important for older adults to focus on their total health body, mind and spirit," said Christopher Ciano, president of Aetna Medicare, in a statement. "To help members improve their health, we expanded our Aetna Medicare Solutions portfolio of products to include new plans and benefits designed to make care more affordable and convenient."

"As part of CVS Health, we're bringing care closer to home and making more meaningful connections that help our members age actively on their path to better health," Ciano said.

MA open enrollment begins Oct. 15.

Aetna's MA members will also be offered home assessments at no cost, during which a clinician will visit to conduct a physical exam and risk assessment, including identifying fall risks.

To help members stay in their homes as much as possible, Aetna will also offer Papa's services across six states. Papa Pals are college age volunteers who visit with seniors, help them with light house cleaning and provide technology help.

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Aetna is also touting benefits in partnership with its parent company, CVS Health, such as MinuteClinic visits with the same copayment as a visit to a primary care physician. CVS pharmacists will also offer personalized medication advice, including tips on potentially high-risk medications.

Aetna will also continue to offer an over-the-counter allowance benefit for its members, which they can redeem for a list of products through OTC Health Solutions, also owned by CVS, or at CVS pharmacies and Navarro Discount Pharmacy stores in person.

Aetna is growing its $0 premium plans for 2021, and it estimates that 81% of Medicare beneficiaries will have access to an Aetna MA plan with a $0 premium.