By Lauren Flynn Kelly

In the age of value-based contracts and social determinants of health, why shouldn’t plans have an opportunity to serve Medicare Advantage (MA) beneficiaries for longer periods of time and maximize the potential to improve health outcomes and reduce costs?

That’s the question at the center of “Multi-Year Medicare Advantage Plans: A Framework for Action,” a new white paper by consulting firm Leavitt Partners.

Under the MyMAP demonstration project proposed in the paper, MA insurers would be able to offer a multiyear product to beneficiaries with certain high-cost chronic disease needs or high-cost acute medical episodes and test the hypothesis that making “upfront investments” would be recovered over a multiyear period because they produced better care management and better outcomes for beneficiaries.

The authors recommended a contract period of at least three years between health plan and member. To incentivize members to enroll in a multiyear plan, the MyMAP framework suggested that plans could focus on attractive benefits and cost-sharing. Moreover, it might be possible for insurers to guarantee beneficiaries $0 premiums across multiple years of the model, they added.

Moving forward, “the idea will be acted on with specifics,” says former Utah Governor and HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt. He adds that the firm is working with two organizations that are not yet prepared to go public and that focus on certain conditions that would fit well within the framework.

“Multiyear contracting deserves further thought — perhaps as a demonstration,” says Michael Adelberg, a principal with Faegre Baker Daniels Consulting and a former top CMS MA official. “If beneficiaries are locked in, that begs the question of whether plan benefits, networks, service areas also will be locked in.”