Bridging gaps for seniors

Better experience

Bridging gaps
for seniors

Elizabeth Nally, Anthem MCRS social worker

Anthem and its affiliate health plans were among the first to provide social and support benefits in our Medicare Advantage programs, in response to flexibilities introduced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. These new benefits are driving change in the industry and widening the range of essential, non-medical health services available for older adults.

Martin Esquivel, VP of Product Management, Anthem

Elizabeth Nally is a licensed social worker on the Anthem Medicare Community Resources Support (MCRS) team, one of the first formally established programs offered by a Medicare health plan designed to connect consumers with community resources that may be outside of traditional benefits coverage. Anthem’s MCRS services were available in 16 states in 2019, with more states being added in 2020.

“One of our consumers lives alone and no longer drives, which makes it difficult to get to her medical appointments and to the grocery store,” says Elizabeth, who helped this individual enroll in her health plan’s transportation benefit and connected her with community volunteers who help with food shopping. “The consumer was thrilled to have someone to accompany her to the market, and a safe, reliable ride to the doctor.”

Elizabeth Nally in her community

In another case, the MCRS team helped an older man who needed assistance with rent and access to a food pantry for his meals. “He was grateful for the support and said that no one had ever helped him like this before,” Elizabeth says.

MCRS is staffed by social workers and outreach specialists who have extensive knowledge of local resources. As Elizabeth notes: “We listen – and solve problems.”

Members of the MCRS team help older consumers understand and better navigate their Medicare benefits as well as identify community-based services that address drivers of health.

“Anthem’s leadership in addressing drivers of health helps vulnerable older adults continue to live independently, maintain a high quality of life, and stay out of the hospital. We help people who are physically, emotionally, and financially at risk by connecting them to the services and support they need – even if those aren’t traditional health benefits,” says Alan Gilbert, Vice President of Anthem’s Drivers of Health Strategy.

Removing barriers to healthy living

Along with the introduction of MCRS, Anthem took significant steps in 2019 to address the broad, interconnected factors that influence health. Offering access to innovative benefits within Medicare Advantage plans, we enable consumers to stay healthy and achieve a sense of well-being. These benefits include healthy food delivery, personal home helpers, exercise programs, support for social isolation, and health-related transportation.

Recent studies suggest non-medical factors may affect 80% to 90% of an individual’s health

An Anthem associate answers consumer questions at a community health education event in Ventura, CA

Offering these innovative services contributed to our ability to increase 2019 enrollment by more than 20 percent, outpacing the market and making us the fourth-largest individual Medicare Advantage plan in the nation. In 2020, we are offering consumers an even broader range of holistic service options – from nutrition counseling or a fitness tracking device, to pest control and support for service dogs.

With these new programs, Anthem can take into account and address not only an individual’s medical needs, but also the underlying social, economic, and environmental factors that can impact health. Our innovative solutions result in healthier outcomes and better quality of life.