Saturday, April 4, 2020

MCS: Partnerships Will Inject Over $50 Million into Economy

By on February 5, 2020

Roberto Pando, president of MCS Life and MCS Advantage, and Dr. Inés Hernández, principal medical officer at MCS (Courtesy)

SAN JUAN — Health insurer Medical Card System (MCS) has entered into partnerships with leading food industry and retail providers to offer its Classicare members new special supplemental benefits. 

MCS Advantage offers special benefits that include financial assistance for the payment of healthy foods and utilities managed under the MCS Te Paga debit card. MCS Classicare products also cover special home repair services, as well as non-medical transportation to the supermarket, bank and church.

More than 65,000 MCS Classicare beneficiaries have completed more than 180,000 transactions through partnerships with Amigo, Econo, Ralph’s, Selectos, Supermax, and Walmart supermarkets. Additionally, over 10,000 of these transactions represent payments of electricity, water and telephone bills. In total, over $7 million had been paid through the MCS Classicare Te Paga card with the new benefits offered, MCS announced Wednesday. 

“Since Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017, the health of Puerto Rico’s poorest and eldest have been adversely impacted by the decreasing resources available. The MCS special supplemental benefits, such as the MCS Classicare Te Paga card, uniquely address the social determinants of health for Puerto Rico’s population eligible to receive these benefits. 

“The early data confirms that MCS Classicare members are enjoying the revolutionary special supplemental benefits available through Te Paga to address the social health determinants that impact members’ physical, mental and emotional health. Despite negative marketing campaigns by its competitors, these facts demonstrate MCS’ commitment to truthful marketing and reiterates its commitment to the health of the elderly population of Puerto Rico,” the release reads.

MCS anticipates that its Te Paga card will represent a financial impact of more than $50 million to its beneficiaries in 2020.  

“We believe the MCS Classicare Te Paga card, and other supplemental benefits offered by MCS, are dramatically improving the lives of our members in Puerto Rico. We are proud to say that over 85% of our membership is eligible to receive some type of these special supplemental benefits currently. Addressing the social determinants that impact the economic aspect, malnutrition and the general well-being of the population age 60 and over has always been a challenge. Through the Te Paga card, MCS believes it has revolutionized healthcare in Puerto Rico through the dramatic improvement of Members’ critical social determinants of health,” Dr. Inés Hernández, MCS’ chief medical officer, was quoted as saying.

Hernández explained that MCS has a team of healthcare professionals including physicians, nurses and social workers that work together to address the needs of the insurer’s members.  

“Many times, our caregivers find that the status of a member with multiple health conditions is affected because the member does not have enough money or time to meet all his or her social and health needs. We feel that with Te Paga and other benefits, we are improving the lives and health of our members like no other plan in Puerto Rico,” Hernández said. 

Roberto Pando Cintrón, president of MCS Life and MCS Advantage, added: “With housing being another social determinant that has a major impact on the health of the elderly, the MCS Classicare supplemental benefits this year covers up to two quarterly repair service visits, for a total of eight per year, free of charge. This includes basic plumbing, electrical, locksmith and window repair services. To meet other needs, MCS Classicare members this year also have transportation services available to attend church or go to the supermarket, the bank, MCS Service Centers, or MCS Tu Ruta al Bienestar recreational activities. We believe the depth of these benefits is unmatched in the Puerto Rico market.”

“We believe the MCS focus on social determinants of health, as well as multisectoral partnerships with the island’s major supermarkets…is an unprecedented effort in Puerto Rico. These initiatives will certainly have a positive impact on the quality of life of our members and would benefit all Puerto Ricans who are eligible for them. We are proud to say that MCS Classicare has experienced the largest growth among all the health plans in Puerto Rico so far in the annual and open enrollment period as a result of these tremendous benefits,” CEO Jim O’Drobinak said. 

Pando Cintrón added: “No other health plan in Puerto Rico offers this unique combination of special supplemental benefits. Together with our improved medical coverage and additional benefits that include eyeglasses, OTC drugs, non-emergency transportation, and the MCS Tu Ruta al Bienestar activities program, we offer our MCS Classicare members, caregivers and primary care physicians the wide range of tools needed to help them address their healthcare needs, including the social determinants impacting their health.”

Medicare Advantage beneficiaries can change their plan once before March 31. Medicare Platinum beneficiaries may change it twice, and then one time each quarter for the remainder of the year. Eligible members with special needs such as chronic heart failure, diabetes and cardiovascular conditions may enroll monthly through October.  

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