Approaches to Meet Behavioral Health Needs in Medicare Advantage

This brief, conducted on behalf of Better Medicare Alliance by ATI Advisory, highlights innovations occurring in Medicare Advantage to meet behavioral health needs, as well as key policy opportunities to improve access for the entire Medicare population. 


Findings show that:

  • Medicare Advantage continues to serve a more medically complex beneficiary population than fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare when it comes to behavioral health needs.
    • Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) data shows that Medicare Advantage beneficiaries have slightly higher rates of any mental health condition, including higher rates of depression, serious mental illness, and cognitive impairment than their FFS Medicare counterparts.
  • Medicare Advantage offers a wide array of behavioral health-related benefits that may not be available in FFS Medicare.
    • For example, 83% of Medicare Advantage plans provide individual mental health telehealth coverage, while more than half (55%) provide individual substance abuse telehealth services.
  • Medicare Advantage beneficiaries with any mental health condition and those with serious mental illness report higher rates of having a usual source of care than beneficiaries with the same conditions in FFS Medicare, as well as higher rates of having one provider who knew all their medications.


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