Recently released data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) show that Medicare Advantage (MA) plans now cover over half of eligible beneficiaries.
MA plans contract with the federal government to offer coverage for the services paid for by Parts A and B of Medicare and are available to beneficiaries who are enrolled in both. As of January 2023, 59.82 million people have both Part A and Part B and 30.19 million of them, 50%, have joined MA, an increase from the 48% who were enrolled in MA in 2022.
A KFF report analyzing this enrollment trend highlights the dramatic rise in the recent past, noting that in 2007 less than 20% of eligible beneficiaries had selected a private plan. The report suggests several possible factors for the increase–including the attractiveness and marketing power of extra benefits, like vision, hearing, and dental coverage, and the possibility of lower out-of-pocket costs compared to Original Medicare without supplemental or secondary coverage.
As Medicare Advantage covers an increasing share of beneficiaries, it is increasingly important to evaluate how well the program serves beneficiaries as compared to Original Medicare, particularly the diverse and historically underserved populations who make up a disproportionate share of MA enrollees. We must better understand how much value for money beneficiaries, the government, and taxpayers are getting for plan payments. Gaps in data make these evaluations difficult, but they are essential.
Read the KFF Report here.
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