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CMS Regulatory Changes Affirm Novu’s Incentives and Rewards Model Improves Enrollee Health Behaviors and Outcomes

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced new guidance to enable Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations to offer health-driven rewards and incentive programs that may be applied to an expanded list of health-related services and activities. Specifically, MA organizations may now create one or more programs that provide rewards and incentives to enrollees in connection with participation in activities that focus on promoting improved health, preventing injuries and illness, and promoting efficient use of health care resources. Additionally, the new CMS regulations support Novu’s fundamental approach that daily actions, such as signing-up for a healthy activity or checking-in to validate an action, for example, can now be rewarded as part of a program to activate individuals in their own health.

In response to the need for MA organization to showcase meaningful and sustained improvements in enrollee health behaviors and health outcomes, Novu provides an industry-leading, scalable and flexible platform that enables the nation’s most innovative healthcare companies to achieve their organizational goals. Through an integrated technology and services approach and a unique combination of incentives, education, access and support, Novu provides MA organizations with an efficient, effective way to incent and reward all enrollees, while equipping the organization with a way to track and easily report on the effectiveness of their rewards and incentives programs through Novu’s robust real-time data dashboard.

“Rewards and incentives are proven to inspire enrollees to take charge of their own health, advancing better health behaviors and outcomes,” said Novu CEO Tom Wicka. “This new expanded guidance on rewards and incentives strongly supports what we’ve known since inception: small steps make a huge difference in the health of individuals. Our consumer-centric health engagement and rewards model closes care gaps, activates individuals in their health and reduces costs for payers and providers. We are the only company that has experience working with MA organizations on rewards and incentives, and we’ve already delivered tangible results for populations across all age ranges, including at-risk senior populations, which require significant expertise and insight. This is a significant opportunity to activate enrollees toward healthy outcomes and we look forward to working with our customers as they embrace this new era in customer-centric health care engagement.”

While previously MA organizations were limited in what health-related activities and services could be incentivized, the new expanded guidelines now allow MA organizations to deliver rewards and incentives to all activities that focus on promoting improved health, preventing injuries and illness, and promoting efficient use of health care resources. They are also now able to provide rewards and incentives that target a specific disease, chronic condition or preventive service. Moreover, CMS’s ruling enables MA organizations to define the definition and scope of completion of the activities it is incenting, enabling organizations to encourage enrollees to complete smaller actions or programs in advance of their health.

The Novu platform drives motivation and activation through proven engagement methods and provides general education, online communities, weekly challenges, badges and status, and incentives in the form of Novu reward points. Novu’s self-funded, proprietary Rewards Platform draws on extensive expertise in loyalty and rewards marketing for consumer companies in the Fortune 500. It is built with out-of-the-box fulfillment categories (raffles charities, local and daily deals) that can be customized to client needs. Incentive reward points are accrued as enrollees schedule appointments or complete screenings, among other activities, and can be redeemed by enrollees.

Novu’s platform delivers tailored content coupled with personalized engagement and communications tools that are specifically targeted to meet the needs of a specific population. With Medicare populations, for example, communication is specific to a person’s age and gender so that enrollees can learn about the tests covered by their plan and their importance, and various “Health Essential” screenings, as well as address the barriers to getting screening tests, such as the fear of results.

Novu clients can also receive real-time data and reporting on enrollees and their screenings, as well as preventative care progress along the way – an important piece of the rewards and incentive guidance’s evaluation process. With Novu’s two-way communications capabilities, detailed surveys can easily be executed to assess enrollee satisfaction, opinions and engagement metrics.

Novu recently conducted a yearlong study involving thousands of Medicare Advantage participants focused on enhancing their nutrition, as well as strength and cardiovascular fitness. Nearly 70 percent of the participants used Novu twice a week and the top 25 percent used Novu nearly daily. The participants completed nearly 19,000 personalized Novu health and wellness programs focused on nutrition, strength and cardio; conducted an average of nine challenges; earned 13 million reward points collectively; and nearly 70 percent of the participants saw their Body Mass Index reduce nearly seven percent. These real-world results prove Novu’s engagement approach to influencing behavioral change, which is at the core of the QEP product.

About Novu
Novu is a member-centric technology and services platform designed to serve as integrator between payer, provider and member. Leveraging clinical and behavioral best practices, social experiences, gamification, rewards, loyalty and advanced data, the company helps the industry’s most innovative health insurance companies, health services organizations and corporate employers achieve their organizational goals. Through this proprietary, powerful combination, Novu facilitates relevant, member-driven wellness actions and decisions that encourage physical, emotional and financial health. Available wherever consumers want to engage in their health, the Novu platform delivers an empowering, rewarding and connected experience via desktop, mobile and tablet. The company is headquartered in Minneapolis, MN. More information is available at

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