Press Releases
July 9, 2020

BMA Unveils 2020 “State of Medicare Advantage” Report Showing Greater Diversity, Better Outcomes in Medicare Advantage

Report offers a comprehensive profile of enrollment growth, beneficiary demographics, affordability trends, health care quality, and consumer attitudes

Washington, D.C
. – Better Medicare Alliance (BMA), the leading research and advocacy organization supporting Medicare Advantage, unveiled its State of Medicare Advantage 2020 report, showing greater diversity, lower costs, and better outcomes in Medicare Advantage, as compared to Traditional Medicare.

The report offers a comprehensive picture of Medicare Advantage today – from beneficiary demographics to consumer savings and satisfaction, health outcomes, and projections for the future.

“Policymakers deserve complete, timely information on Medicare Advantage – particularly as enrollment continues to grow as more beneficiaries make an active choice for this coverage option,” said Allyson Y. Schwartz, President and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance. “Better Medicare Alliance continues to do what no one else has by bringing all of the latest findings together in a single, easy-to-read report to deliver a one-of-its-kind, comprehensive account of the state of Medicare Advantage today.”

Schwartz continued, “Our report – aided by research from a wide array of independent sources – reveals that Medicare Advantage is markedly more diverse in beneficiary population than its Traditional Medicare counterpart, with 28 percent minority representation in Medicare Advantage compared to 21 percent in Traditional Medicare. Medicare Advantage beneficiaries also enjoy an average savings of $1,598 per year over Traditional Medicare, fewer avoidable hospitalizations, and a record-high 99 percent satisfaction rating. The state of Medicare Advantage is strong, and its success offers timely insights for policymakers on the importance of value-based, integrated care in health financing and care delivery.”

Key Findings from the Report Include:

  • Enrollment Trends: Medicare Advantage enrollment has nearly doubled over the last decade and grown by over 30% since 2017 alone. Medicare Advantage is projected to increase to nearly 51% of total Medicare enrollment by 2030.
    • Medicare Advantage enrollment growth has been spurred by high consumer satisfaction, strong enrollment growth in employer-sponsored retiree plans (EGWPs) as well as Special Needs Plans (SNPs).
  • Beneficiary Demographics: Medicare Advantage is the preferred option for those who are low-income and for racial and ethnic minorities. Medicare Advantage enrollees also have higher rates of clinical and social risk factors.
    • 50% of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries live on annual incomes of less than $24,500 a year, compared to 40% in Traditional Medicare. 21% of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are also eligible for Medicaid, compared to 16% in Traditional Medicare.
    • 28% of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are racial minorities, compared to 21% in Traditional Medicare. Latinx representation in Medicare Advantage is double that of Traditional Medicare (12% versus 6%). African American representation is 50% higher in Medicare Advantage than in Traditional Medicare (12% versus 8%).
    • Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are 64% more likely to enroll in Medicare due to disability, have a 57% higher rate of serious mental illness, and have 16% higher rate of alcohol, drug, or substance abuse.
  • Access and Affordability: In 2020, 99% of Medicare beneficiaries have access to at least one Medicare Advantage plan, with on average, 39 plan choices per county.
    • When comparing average annual out-of-pocket costs, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries save $1,598 more than those in Traditional Medicare.
    • The out-of-pocket costs associated with inpatient facility stays is seven times higher for beneficiaries in Traditional Medicare than those in Medicare Advantage ($126 versus $15).
  • Supplemental Benefits: Over 80% of Medicare Advantage plans offer at least a vision, hearing, wellness, or dental benefit and more than half of plans offer all four benefits.
    • Vision benefits are the most commonly offered additional benefit, with about 94% of plans including or offering a vision benefit.
    • In 2020, 619 Medicare Advantage plans are offering Special Supplemental Benefits for the Chronically Ill (SSBCI).
  • Health Outcomes: Medicare Advantage beneficiaries had lower rates of potentially avoidable hospitalizations than Traditional Medicare beneficiaries.
    • A large-scale report that examined care for individuals with multiple chronic conditions found that Medicare Advantage beneficiaries experienced 23% fewer inpatient hospital stays and 33% fewer emergency room visits than in Traditional Medicare.
    • Another study showed the risk-adjusted 30-day readmission rate among Medicare Advantage beneficiaries was 13% to 20% lower than the rate in Traditional Medicare.
    • Another recent study found value-based contracting in Medicare Advantage led to a 32% lower risk of death.
  • Consumer Satisfaction: A May 2020 survey of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries found a 99% satisfaction rate with Medicare Advantage, including 64% who identify as “very satisfied.”

Read the full report HERE.

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