Medicaid and Medicare payers and accountable care organizations (ACOs) strategize all year about how to get members to attend their annual health screenings. However, due to employment commitments, lack of transportation, fear of contracting COVID-19, and even lack of education on the importance of yearly screenings, many members need to be incentivized to schedule and attend annual screenings and preventive care check-ups.
The importance of preventive care for the vulnerable populations covered by Medicaid and Medicare can’t be overstated. These appointments benefit the payer/accountable care organization and the member and shouldn’t be postponed for any reason. Specifically, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, medical professionals have stressed the importance of maintaining annual screening schedules.
Necessary preventive care appointments are attended to maintain patients’ health and avoid medical emergencies or urgent care visits. CVS® gift card incentives and similar wellness gift cards and perks can encourage members to schedule and treat these critical appointments. This blog will explore five tactics ACOs and payers can use to incentivize Medicaid and Medicare members to attend preventive care visits.
Tactic 1: Use Telehealth Services When Possible
As we have all adjusted to life with COVID-19 ebbs and spikes, 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 card incentive programs are not only a great way to encourage and reward members for scheduling and attending appointments, but payers and ACOs can actually provide gift cards for surveys to collect patient data or 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 card incentives that increase in value for scheduling appointments and completing consecutive visits are 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 months, members can choose the best time for their schedule, increasing the chances that 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 benefit most from offering material incentives, like gift cards as they could help establish a lasting positive connotation with annual screenings. A great first step would be providing incentives for lower barrier desired actions, like gift cards for surveys relevant to the client population.
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, like 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.
These services can help mitigate COVID-19 exposure, which for many high-risk members, may help reduce anxiety and fear over traditional public transit options.
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 wellness gift card incentives can not only help reinforce desired behavior, but with gift cards for retailers like CVS®, they can also support members’ healthy lifestyle choices, 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 door. Supporting and incentivizing healthy choices through gift card rewards is an effective way to keep patients’ preventive care appointments on schedule throughout the year.
Learn more about how gift card incentives can boost compliance with preventive appointments within your program today!
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