Medicare Advantage: Leading the Way on Healthy Aging

Frederic Goldstein, Founder and President, Population Health Alliance

Frederic Goldstein

A new issue brief released today by the Better Medicare Alliance highlighted some important results: Medicare Advantage is showing improved rates of preventive care, care coordination and screening for our nation’s seniors, ensuring that they receive timely tests and services to prevent or detect health and medical conditions.

Whether it is face-to-face education at a local health fair, a nurse call to follow-up on a missed screening or test, or a postcard outlining recommended health screening intervals, Medicare Advantage plans are successfully integrating important and recommended prevention into the regular care routines of the more than 16 million seniors that opt into the program.

The evidence is starting to show that Medicare Advantage plans are at the forefront of preventive care, outperforming Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS)—and by a wide margin in some cases. As highlighted in the issue brief, a recent analysis demonstrated that Medicare Advantage consistently performs better than Medicare FFS on performance measures related to breast cancer screening, diabetes care, and cholesterol testing for cardiovascular disease. Performance on breast cancer screening metrics, for example, are approximately 15 percent higher in Medicare Advantage than in Medicare FFS. Evidence shows that performance on diabetes care metrics are 4-10 percent higher in Medicare Advantage, while testing for cardiovascular disease is 7-9 percent higher. These numbers are compelling and show that Medicare Advantage is doing a great job in getting seniors the preventive care and screening they need to ensure healthy aging.

It is no surprise that increased rates of preventive care and screening seem to be paying off for seniors through improvements in health outcomes. Evidence shows that seniors in Medicare Advantage have significantly fewer emergency room visits, shorter hospitalizations, and lower rates of outpatient procedures and surgeries.

PHA’s members are committed to providing high-quality care and services to Medicare Advantage seniors across the country, while achieving health care cost-savings. They have devoted resources to building tools and strategies that emphasize evidence-based prevention to address diabetes, cardiovascular disease, smoking cessation, obesity, and prevention. These technological and programmatic solutions improve engagement of individuals in their care, enhance doctor-patient communication, increase medication adherence, help patients navigate the health care system, make prevention accessible and understandable and, overall, usher along an ongoing transformation that makes health care delivery safer, more effective, and more patient-centered.

We look forward to working with the Better Medicare Alliance to build support for Medicare Advantage and to demonstrate the clear and needed value it provides to seniors.