A large swath of Medicare Advantage members report experiencing health-related social needs (HRSNs), such as financial troubles and unreliable access to transportation, according to new research from Humana Inc. published in the July issue of Health Affairs. Researchers surveyed more than 60,000 Humana members (which also included about 12,000 Medicare-Medicaid dual eligibles) in 2019 and found that more than half (56%) reported experiencing at least one HRSN. Financial strain, food insecurity and poor housing quality were the most reported issues.
Some HRSNs — namely unreliable transportation — were more commonly associated with hospitalizations and heavier emergency department (ED) use, researchers found. The overall burden of HRSNs also made an impact, with beneficiaries reporting multiple HRSNs experiencing more hospitalizations.