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5 Ways Patient Incentives Can Encourage Annual Health Screenings

Posted, by Rachel (Merkin) Welt on 01/19/2021
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At the beginning of a new year, Medicaid and Medicare payers and accountable care organizations (ACOs) strategize about how to get members to schedule and attend their preventive care appointments and annual health screenings. Due to employment commitments, lack of transportation, fear of contracting COVID-19, and even lack of education on the importance of annual screenings, many members need to be incentivized to schedule and attend annual screenings and preventive care check-ups.

However, the importance of preventive care for the vulnerable populations covered by Medicaid and Medicare can’t be overstated. These appointments are beneficial for the payer/accountable care organization as well as the member and shouldn’t be postponed due to the pandemic. It’s vital preventive care appointments are attended to maintain their health and avoid medical emergency or urgent care visits. Patient incentives, like CVS® gift cards, can encourage members to schedule and attend these critical appointments. In this blog, we will explore 5 tactics ACOs and payers can use to incentivize Medicaid and Medicare members to attend preventive care visits.

Tactic 1: Use Telehealth Services When Possible

At this time last year, telehealth appointments were virtually non-existent. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic worsened, telehealth has proven to be a popular, convenient, and low-risk way for patients to reach their providers and stay on top of regular check-ups. For members who don’t have access to transportation or need to mitigate their COVID risk, telehealth is a great alternative to an in-person visit and gets members into the habit of visiting their doctor regularly.

Gift cards are not only a great incentive to encourage and reward members for scheduling and attending appointments, but payers and ACOs can actually provide gift cards to cover the cost of a telehealth visit that might not be covered through their insurance policy.

Tactic 2: Schedule Appointments in advance

Advanced scheduling allows program administrators to incentivize and reward members both upon scheduling an appointment and upon completion of the appointment. Using gift cards that increase in value for scheduling appointments and completing consecutive visits is a great way to motivate members to attend follow-up visits. According to Health Partners, children covered by Medicaid lag behind in preventive care well-child visits, often leading to developmental delays and the healthcare services needed to overcome them.

Advanced scheduling also allows members greater flexibility to book appointments at their convenience. By stacking appointments close together or spreading them out over a period of months, members can choose the best time for their schedule, increasing the chances they will follow-through and attend their appointments.

Tactic 3: Focus on Non-Compliant Members

When administrators consider which members to focus their efforts on, they should prioritize by selecting historically non-compliant members who typically don’t attend annual preventive care visits. If budgets are limited, these are the members who may benefit the most from material incentives as they could help establish a lasting positive connotation with annual screenings.

While empathy is key in encouraging members to attend appointments, incentives like gift cards that support basic needs (like clothing companies or personal care items) can be helpful in changing these members’ attitudes towards preventive care.

Tactic 4: Make Getting to Appointments Easy

For some Medicaid and Medicare members, transportation to appointments is a barrier to care. Giving members gift cards for transportation to Uber is a simple, easy way to provide transportation to and from appointments, taking the stress off the patient to get to their scheduled visits.

While these services can help mitigate COVID-19 exposure, for many high-risk members, a private mode of transportation may help reduce anxiety and fear by offering a non-public transportation option.

Tactic 5: Shaping Healthy Behaviors Through Education

There are vast benefits for both members and accountable care organizations when members comply with recommended health screenings. Educating members on the benefits and importance of these screenings is an easy way to build a foundation of understanding and health accountability.

Rewarding patient health accountability with gift cards can not only help reinforce desired behavior but with gift cards like CVS®, they can also support members’ healthy lifestyle choices by supporting healthy product purchasing and easing out-of-pocket expenses for prescriptions and telehealth services. A gift card like Home Chef can encourage and support members' healthy eating habits, making dinner easy to prepare with fresh ingredients or oven-ready meals that can be delivered right to their doors. Supporting and incentivizing healthy choices through gift card rewardsis an effective way to continue preventive care appointments throughout the rest of the year.


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Topics: medicaid, medicare, Incentivize Annual Screenings

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