Press Releases
February 12, 2020

CDC Report Confirms Medicare Advantage Outperforms Traditional Medicare on Cost Protections for Beneficiaries   

Report finds Traditional Medicare beneficiaries “more likely” to experience trouble paying medical bills 

Washington, D.C. – Better Medicare Alliance, an advocacy and research organization supporting Medicare Advantage, responded today to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics data brief entitled “Problems Paying Medical Bills.”

The brief reported that “Among adults aged 65 and over, those with Medicare and Medicaid, and Medicare only were more likely than those with Medicare Advantage or private coverage to have problems paying medical bills.” CDC went on to explain that 12.4% of Traditional Medicare-only beneficiaries reported struggling with medical expenses, compared to 8.3% of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries.

“We are pleased that federal researchers have confirmed what we have known: Medicare Advantage delivers important cost protections to beneficiaries. CDC’s data brief backs up our recent findings, which show that Medicare Advantage delivers a more than five percent lower rate of cost burden than Traditional Medicare, with beneficiaries saving over $1,200 a year on average — all without the need for the added monthly bill associated with a Medigap policy,” said Allyson Y. Schwartz, President and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance. “With its annual limit on out-of-pocket expenses, improved care coordination, and better health outcomes, it is no wonder that Medicare Advantage receives a 94 percent satisfaction rate from consumers and a bipartisan endorsement from 75 percent of Congress. Every senior deserves the opportunity to understand the cost savings found in MA so that they can be active, informed choosers in their health coverage.” 

CDC’s data brief follows a July 2019 study from Anne Tumlinson Innovations commissioned by Better Medicare Alliance which show that Medicare Advantage beneficiaries save, on average, $1,276 a year in medical costs compared to their Traditional Medicare counterparts and are less likely to report being cost-burdened (defined as spending 20 percent of income or more on medical expenses). A follow-up report examining updated Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) data is due out from Anne Tumlinson Innovations in the coming weeks.


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