Our Work

MEDICARE ADVANTAGE OUTPERFORMS TRADITIONAL MEDICARE ON COST PROTECTIONS FOR MEDICARE BENEFICIARIES

A COVERAGE OPTION THAT REDUCES BENEFICIARY SPENDING WHILE PRESERVING SATISFACTION WITH QUALITY AND ACCESS TO CARE

THE ISSUE

Medicare Advantage and Traditional Fee-For-Service (FFS) Medicare together provide coverage to more than 62 million beneficiaries. The Medicare population is growing rapidly and maximizing the value of the Medicare dollar is increasingly important.

OUR WORK

ATI Advisory partnered with Better Medicare Alliance (BMA) to evaluate the role that Medicare Advantage plays in providing cost protections to Medicare beneficiaries, including those who are financially vulnerable. Consistent with previous ATI and BMA research, we found that a greater proportion of low- and modest-income Medicare beneficiaries enroll in Medicare Advantage than Traditional FFS Medicare. Additionally, beneficiaries across the two programs have similar complex care needs and levels of chronic illness. Importantly, our findings show that Medicare Advantage enrollees spend $1,640 less on premiums and out-of-pocket spending than their Traditional FFS enrollee peers, and they experience greater than 40% lower cost burden. Notably, these differences in spending between Medicare Advantage and Traditional FFS beneficiaries do not appear to translate to differences in quality; beneficiaries in both programs report similar levels of satisfaction with health care quality and ease of getting to the doctor.

OUR VIEW

This brief supports that Medicare Advantage provides beneficiary-level cost savings without compromising quality or satisfaction. Recent policy changes have allowed Medicare Advantage plans to provide more person-centered, quality-focused care (e.g.,  supplemental benefits and telehealth flexibilities). As the population of Medicare Advantage enrollees grows, the policy environment will need to continue supporting opportunities for innovation that allow Medicare Advantage to move upstream and provide whole-person care to Medicare beneficiaries.

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