As Medicare Advantage plans continue to grow in popularity among seniors, three Southern California companies are leading the way in creating specialized plans designed to cater to cultural and ethnic communities.
Clever Care Health Plan, Alignment Health, and SCAN Health Plan are pioneers in this approach, offering unique benefits and provider networks tailored to specific cultural cohorts.
Clever Care Health Plan, based in Huntington Beach, and Alignment Health, located in Orange, have launched plans for Asian Americans.
These plans go beyond traditional Medicare Advantage coverage by offering benefits such as coverage for Eastern medicines and treatments like cupping and tui na massage.
Alignment Health also provides a plan targeting the Latino community, while SCAN Health Plan has a product specifically designed for the LGBTQ+ community.
All three projects have been introduced since 2020.
While many Medicare Advantage providers use advertising to target various communities, these three companies are among the first in the nation to create plans with provider networks and benefits designed for specific cultural groups.
These plans aim to provide not only trusted providers who understand their patients’ unique cultural contexts and speak their language but also special products and services tailored to their needs.
For example, Asian Americans may want coverage for traditional Eastern treatments, while LGBTQ+ patients might be particularly concerned with HIV prevention or management.
These specialized plans aim to address these specific healthcare needs.
Research has shown that patients can benefit from Care tailored to their race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.
Studies have indicated that patients with the same racial or ethnic background as their physicians are more likely to rate their doctors highly.
Medicare Advantage Plans Bridge Healthcare Disparities with Cultural Sensitivity
Additionally, surveys have shown a legacy of distrust in healthcare systems among marginalized groups, such as ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people with disabilities.
Clever Care, founded by Korean-American healthcare executive Myong Lee, set out to create Medicare Advantage plans for underserved Asian communities.
The company offers separate customer service lines by language, allowing members flexibility in spending their benefit allowances.
Alignment Health also offers plans targeting Asian Americans and Latinos in multiple states, with benefits ranging from traditional wellness services to grocery allowances for ethnic stores.
SCAN Health Plan serves the LGBTQ+ community and has faced bias issues and provider participation challenges.
While these specialized plans are designed to address the unique needs of specific cultural and ethnic communities, some experts caution against potential pitfalls, such as commoditizing and profiting from people’s racial and ethnic identities.
Care must be taken to ensure that these plans are not exploitative.
Despite these concerns, Clever Care, Alignment Health, and SCAN Health Plan are optimistic about their ability to provide better healthcare experiences for communities historically underserved or marginalized by the healthcare system.
These companies believe that by treating patients with respect and delivering Care in a culturally sensitive manner, they can positively impact the health and well-being of these communities.
Source: The Orange County Register