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A new survey of health insurance plan executives nationwide offers good news and bad news for the home care industry. 

Ninety-one percent of executives said demand for home care has increased over the past five years, according to a poll by home care benefits administrator Integrated Home Care Services. However, many of those same executives cited a number of challenges to delivering home care, such as fragmentation and high hospital readmission rates.

The company commissioned healthcare consultants Sage Growth Partners to survey nearly 50 plan executives last September. More than a third of respondents said utilization of home care had increased 10% over the past five years, with most executives predicting growth in home care demand to be permanent. 

However, the executives also cited a number of challenges delivering home care services to their enrollees. Roughly three-quarters cited a fragmented system that made it difficult to coordinate services. Some complained about difficult “transitions to and from home care” and said a potential “break in engagement” with members over transitions could result in “losing the member.”  

Approximately one-third of respondents reported high emergency department utilization rates and rehospitalization rates related to home care services. But despite the challenges, only about a third of executives admitted meeting frequently to discuss home care. 

Medicare Advantage plans represented the largest number of plans utilizing home care in the poll, with about a fifth of them stating approximately 40% of their members use home care benefits. 

Home care has become one of the more popular nonmedical supplemental benefits offered by MA plans. A recent report by the Better Medicare Alliance, which represents MA plans, found the number of plans offering in-home support services will increase 35% in 2023. Currently about a quarter of MA plans offer nonmedical supplemental benefits, according to ATI Advisory. That was a nearly 40% increase over the number of plans that offered the benefits in 2021.