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Get the facts on Medicare Advantage and the Drive to Health Equity

With a proportionally more diverse, medically complex, and socially at-risk beneficiary population than FFS Medicare, better cost protections, and improved health outcomes, Medicare Advantage is already playing a leading role in policymakers’ vision for a more equitable health care future.

FAST FACTS:

FACT: Medicare Advantage delivers meaningful savings to beneficiaries of color

  • Latino and Black Medicare beneficiaries save an average of $1,421 and $1,104, respectively, each year in Medicare Advantage compared to FFS Medicare.
  • Across all demographics, Medicare Advantage has a 35% lower rate of cost burden than FFS Medicare.

FACT: Beneficiaries of color are more likely to choose Medicare Advantage

  • Research shows that 53% and 49% of Latino and Black Medicare beneficiaries, respectively, choose enrollment in Medicare Advantage, compared to the 45% overall Medicare Advantage enrollment rate for the general population.

FACT: Medicare Advantage has been recognized by CMS for its successes in addressing health disparities and advancing health equity

  • A December 2021 CMS report found “substantial progress in the reduction of inequities in the patient experience for Black beneficiaries” in Medicare Advantage and “substantial improvement for Black and [Latino] beneficiaries in the area of clinical care.”
  • The study went on to note “substantial reductions” in inequities for Black and Latino beneficiaries on access to the annual flu vaccine.
  • The CMS study explained that lessons drawn from further investigation into the success of Medicare Advantage in addressing health disparities “could potentially be applied to ensure continued progress toward greater health equity for all beneficiaries.

FACT: Medicare Advantage has earned the trust and support of health equity leaders

  • A January 2022 letter from the National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association, and Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum explains, “Our organizations share in the [Biden] Administration’s goal to improve health equity, and believe MA is critical to achieving that goal … To build on the progress already made to improve health outcomes and advance health equity for seniors in MA, we must protect MA from any payment reductions or policies that would negatively impact seniors in MA.”
  • Likewise, an April 2022 op-ed co-authored by leaders at the National Black Nurses Association and Morehouse College explained that, “It is incumbent upon policymakers to look closely at these equity-enhancing lessons found in Medicare Advantage and consider ways to carry that innovation forward across the health care system.”

FACT: Medicare Advantage delivers better health outcomes for beneficiaries of color

  • Analysis from ATI Advisory finds that Black and Latino beneficiaries are more likely to report receiving routine health care services, including mammograms, flu shots, blood pressure screenings, and cholesterol checks, when enrolled in Medicare Advantage as compared to FFS Medicare.
  • Across all demographics, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries see a 43% lower rate of avoidable hospitalizations and a 5% lower rate of all-cause readmissions, compared to FFS Medicare. Medicare Advantage beneficiaries also have a 21% higher rate of seeing a physician within 14 days of a hospital discharge.

FACT: Medicare Advantage depends on regulatory stability to continues its gains in health equity for seniors

  • Medicare Advantage’s continued success in delivering more affordable, quality, equitable, and person-centered coverage and care to a diverse beneficiary population depends on continued support and stability from regulators and policymakers. As CMS considers future rule- making, we should build on what works and protect the innovations and flexibilities that are accelerating the drive to health equity through Medicare Advantage.

Resources for further reading:

DATA BRIEFS AND FACT SHEETS:

  • Data Brief: Medicare Advantage Outperforms Fee-For-Service Medicare on Cost Protections for Low-Income and Diverse Populations (April 2022) Read More
  • Fact Sheet: Medicare Advantage Outperforms Fee-For-Service Medicare on Cost Protections for Low-Income and Diverse Populations (April 2022) Read More
  • Data Brief: Medicare Advantage Offers High Quality Care And Cost Protections To Racially And Ethnically Diverse Beneficiaries (June 2021) Read More

REPORTS:

  • Report: 2022 State of Medicare Advantage Report (July 2022) Read More
  • Report: Trends in Racial, Ethnic, Sex, and Rural-Urban Inequities in Health Care in Medicare Advantage: 2009-2018 (December 2021) Read More
  • Report: Convening Report: Addressing Health Disparities in Medicare (December 2019) Read More

LETTERS, BLOG POSTS, AND OP-EDS:

  • Op/Ed: During National Minority Health Month, a Few Reasons for Optimism (April 2022) Read More
  • Article: Lessons learned in Medicare Advantage: Accelerating the Drive to Health Equity (January 2022) Read More
  • Letter: Letter to CMS supporting Medicare Advantage from National Hispanic Medical Association, National Medical Association, and Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum (January 2022) Read More
  • Blog: Medicare Advantage is Closing the Health Disparities Gap for Seniors (January 2022) Read More

VIDEOS:

  • Video: Health Disparities and the Role of Medicare Advantage (October 2020) Watch