Better Medicare Alliance Unveils 2021 “State of Medicare Advantage” Report Showing High Satisfaction, Greater Consumer Savings, and Better Outcomes in MA
Annual report offers a comprehensive picture of the Medicare Advantage experience today, from enrollment growth and beneficiary demographics to health care quality and consumer attitudes
Washington, D.C. – Better Medicare Alliance, the leading research and advocacy group supporting Medicare Advantage, unveiled its 2021 State of Medicare Advantage report, showing near-universal satisfaction, greater consumer savings, and better health outcomes in Medicare Advantage, as compared to Traditional FFS Medicare.
The annual report also includes new information for 2021 providing a snapshot of the Medicare Advantage community’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our State of Medicare Advantage report brings together the latest research in one place to offer a single, comprehensive account of the Medicare Advantage experience today,” said Allyson Y. Schwartz, President and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance. “With a 98 percent consumer satisfaction rating, extra benefits that enhance seniors’ wellbeing, $1,640 in average savings to beneficiaries, and better health outcomes for its proportionally more diverse and higher-risk population, we can say with certainty that the state of Medicare Advantage is strong.”
Schwartz continued, “This report is a testament to the importance of continued stability and support from policymakers – both for the 26.5 million beneficiaries who choose Medicare Advantage now, and the additional 10,000 Americans who age into Medicare each day. As Congress and the Biden Administration work to address health disparities, lower consumer costs, and accelerate the move to value-based care, our research shows how Medicare Advantage is leading the way and is a critical partner in these efforts to modernize and improve health care delivery.”
Key Findings from the Report Include:
- Enrollment Trends: Medicare Advantage enrollment has nearly doubled over the last decade with enrollment at 26 million individuals in early 2021, or 42% of all Medicare beneficiaries. Enrollment is projected to increase to over 50% of total Medicare enrollment by 2030.
- Enrollment in Medicare Advantage is also driven by increased access to Medicare Advantage plans. In 2021, Medicare beneficiaries have access to over 4,800 plans offered across the country, an increase of 2,100 from 2017. Of the 4,800 plans offered, 2,900 are in rural counties.
- Consumer Satisfaction: Recent polling shows that 98% of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are satisfied with their coverage, while 97% are specifically satisfied with their network of physicians, hospitals, and specialists.
- Medicare Advantage’s overall satisfaction rate rises to 99% among minority beneficiaries.
- Supplemental Benefits: About 90% of Medicare Advantage plans offer benefits such as wellness, dental, vision, or hearing coverage and over two-thirds of plans cover all four benefits. Vision benefits are the most commonly offered supplemental benefit.
- In 2021, over 94% of Medicare Advantage plans also offer additional telehealth benefits, reaching 20.7 million beneficiaries.
- Health Outcomes: Medicare Advantage beneficiaries had 41% and 18% fewer avoidable acute and chronic hospitalizations, respectively, than Traditional FFS Medicare beneficiaries.
- 21% more Medicare Advantage beneficiaries received a physician visit within 14 days of discharge compared to Traditional FFS Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare Advantage beneficiaries were also more likely to receive an annual flu vaccine.
- Affordability: Medicare Advantage beneficiaries report lower average annual individual spending, with cost savings of $1,640 resulting in a 40% lower rate of cost burden than Traditional FFS Medicare.
- The Medicare Advantage average monthly premium is $21 in 2021, which is $2.63 less than 2020 and the lowest average premium since 2007.
- Beneficiary Demographics: Minorities comprise 33.7% of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries compared to 16% of Traditional FFS Medicare beneficiaries.
- Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are more likely than Traditional FFS Medicare beneficiaries to be fully dual-eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, and over half of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries live on annual incomes of less than $24,500.