How Can You Deliver Value-Based Care that Engages Baby Boomers?

This post is part of a five-part series highlighting top insights from our white paper, Personalized Value-Based Care: Effective Multi-Generational Care Management Strategies.

It’s true that meeting the health needs of individuals across generations is partly about age-related clinical factors. But there’s more to consider. Addressing generation-specific attitudes, concerns, and preferences regarding healthcare, as well as individual non-clinical factors that impact health, is integral to driving member engagement and better outcomes.

Here, we explore how organizations can improve the delivery of personalized, value-based care at scale for Baby Boomer health populations.

What Makes Baby Boomers Unique When It Comes to Healthcare?

Baby Boomers, the “me” generation, are known for caring about their health. Born between 1946 and 1964, Boomers are young enough to have lived a significant portion of their lives in the digital age, so many are well-versed in technology – although tech literacy is still a common challenge.

Boomers tend to be loyal to healthcare providers they perceive as high-quality. They generally value trust and reputation. Word-of-mouth recommendations are highly valued when it comes to choosing a provider.

Here’s an overview of Boomer characteristics and preferences regarding healthcare, and implications for care management teams and providers.

Boomers are Digitally Capable but Prefer Traditional Healthcare

This generation uses technology mostly for research and to connect with others, and 70% of Boomers still prefer in-person visits over virtual appointments, according to research by Health Leaders. Boomers also prefer verbal instruction, followed by written and then internet-based instructions.

Care management implications:

  • Strategies should include online and offline interactions
  • Tailor health education to modality preference

Boomers Have High Rates of Chronic Diseases and Complex Conditions

Baby Boomers have more chronic conditions and diseases than their counterparts from earlier generations did at the same age. According to a study published in June 2022 in Journals of Gerontology, Boomers experience a greater number of the following chronic conditions as compared to older adults born from 1931 – 1941: heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, lung disease, cancer (excluding skin cancer), depressive symptoms, and cognitive impairment.

Care management implications:

  • Coordinate with all providers involved in managing a member’s chronic disease
  • Boost engagement in self-management by providing education on the importance of adhering to treatment protocols, medications, and healthy lifestyle choices

Many Baby Boomers Are New to Medicare or About to Age-In

By 2030, the last of the Baby Boomers will age into Medicare. These future Medicare beneficiaries, as well as their current counterparts who are transitioning to Medicare now, will likely need help understanding the program.

This includes guidance on choosing Medicare coverage applicable to their needs (e.g., Medicare Advantage, Medicare supplement insurance plans). This will help them experience a smooth transition from commercial plans and avoid gaps in coverage that can compromise health.

Care management implications:

  • Provide education to help members transition from workplace healthcare coverage to Medicare benefits
  • Address socio-economic factors that will impact health and retirement funds

Lots of Boomers Are Also Caregivers

A CDC study found that one in four Baby Boomers are also caregivers, providing assistance at home or in the community for family or friends who need help with medical-related needs or activities of daily living. The same study found that Boomers who are caregivers are more likely to experience chronic conditions and mental health conditions.

Care management implications:

  • Connect Boomers who are caregivers with community resources and services that can ease some of the burden
  • Encourage Boomers who are caregivers to get the emotional support they need
  • Watch for signs of chronic conditions among caregivers
  • Remind Boomers to take care of their own health: make sure they’re keeping doctor’s appointments and adhering to medication plans

What are the Top Health Concerns for Baby Boomers?

We’ve explored factors that inform how payers, providers, and care management teams might approach caring for Baby Boomers. Here are some considerations that influence how and why Boomers seek healthcare:

  • Dealing with stress and depression
  • Managing chronic diseases and complex conditions (arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, osteoporosis, hypertension)
  • Obtaining good healthcare coverage
  • Finding trustworthy and reputable providers they recognize
  • Accessing the care and support services they need

Medicare and Medicaid plans are faced with addressing additional factors unique to Boomers, including challenges related to social determinants of health (SDOH) and specific preferences.

Get the full list in our white paper, Personalized Value-Based Care: Effective Multigenerational Care Management Strategies. Download your copy now >

Tech-Driven Strategies to Improve Care for Baby Boomers

Delivering personalized, value-based care to the Boomer generation requires efficient care coordination. Teams should provide 1:1 support, helping this group understand health conditions, treatment options, and medication regimes, and address health or tech literacy issues.

Technology with smart automations can drive efficiency, streamlining processes and centralizing member data so that disparate teams and providers have one 360°-member view. The right technology also offers integrated, user-friendly virtual health tools for members.

A medical management platform that supports chronic disease management, provides education and resources to help members participate in their health, and integrates with community partners to address SDOH-related challenges is key to engaging Baby Boomers.

Support Members through Life and Health Transitions

Perhaps the most important way technology can improve care for Boomers is by empowering care managers to make life easier (and healthier) for them. They’re facing many changes: leaving the workforce, switching from commercial insurance to Medicare, and the onset of age-related conditions. Many serve as the primary caregiver for a loved one.

In addition to centralizing member data for improved care coordination, the right medical management platform will also drive engagement with this group through:

  • Chronic care management pathways. Out-of-the-box clinical pathways guide teams on the next best action regarding diagnosis, prevention, management, and intervention for chronic diseases that commonly affect this generation.
  • Built-in member engagement and communication tools. Ensuring that Boomers understand health conditions, treatments, and insurance plans is critical. With virtual tools like educational resources, easy telehealth scheduling, and in-platform texting, members can easily engage in proactive self-care, preventive measures, and medical treatment plans.
  • Medication management capabilities. Many Boomers are new to taking a variety of prescriptions for recently diagnosed age-related conditions. Medical management platforms can improve medication adherence in a variety of ways, from member education on proper administration to automated alerts that tell care managers when a member has (or has not) obtained a prescription.
  • Integrations with community resources. Lack of transportation, location of their residence, the presence of disability, and other SDOH can affect a member’s health. Medical management platforms that integrate with community partners (e.g., transportation services, food or pharmacy delivery services) can help Baby Boomers access the services and resources they need for better outcomes and quality of life.
  • Behavioral health integrations. Depression is prevalent among Boomers, and those who also serve as caregivers are often emotionally drained. The ability to link members with counseling and mental healthcare professionals through a platform can get them the support they need faster.

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