Medicare Advantage Offers High Quality Care And Cost Protections To Racially And Ethnically Diverse Beneficiaries
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed longstanding inequities and vulnerabilities experienced by racially and ethnically diverse Medicare beneficiaries, highlighting the need to better understand and address racial and ethnic disparities in access to care.
This analysis is the second in a series of data briefs prepared by ATI Advisory for Better Medicare Alliance (BMA) during 2021, using the 2018 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS). This current brief provides a detailed look at the Medicare Advantage (MA) and Traditional Fee-For-Service (FFS) Medicare enrollment, health, and experiences of Black, Latinx, and white Medicare beneficiaries. The data demonstrate that Medicare Advantage cares for a more racially and ethnically diverse, lower-income population compared with Traditional FFS Medicare. The data also show that racial minority Medicare Advantage enrollees experience greater clinical complexity than those in Traditional FFS, yet receive more preventive services and experience considerably less cost burden.
Medicare Advantage plays a key role in serving racially and ethnically diverse beneficiaries and improving access to affordable preventive services. Policymakers should ensure the Medicare Advantage program is able to continue providing critical cost protections, managed care delivery models, and supplemental benefits that are particularly meaningful to medically and socially complex beneficiaries.