Data Brief: Medicare Advantage Outperforms Traditional Medicare on Cost Protections for Low- and Modest-Income Populations

This analysis, conducted by ATI Advisory and commissioned by Better Medicare Alliance, finds that Medicare Advantage beneficiaries report $1,640 less in total annual health spending than those in Traditional Medicare.

The analysis is based on 2018 Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) data, the most recent year available, and represents an increase in consumer savings from years past. ATI Advisory analysis of 2017 MCBS data showed a $1,598 lower health spending in Medicare Advantage while 2016 data showed a savings of $1,276.

ATI Advisory additionally finds a 40% lower rate of cost burden in Medicare Advantage than Traditional Medicare (11.8% versus 20%). The lower cost burden in Medicare Advantage is of added importance given that 52.7% of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries live below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, compared to 39.1% of Traditional Medicare beneficiaries. Cost burden is defined as spending 20% or more of one’s income on health costs.

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