February 1, 2015

Medicare Advantage Demographics Report – February 2015

Executive Summary

New data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey (MCBS) show that Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare’s private comprehensive health plans, continued to be a vital source of coverage for low income beneficiaries and racial/ethnic populations in 2012.


MCBS survey estimates revealed that nationwide, 29 percent of all non-institutionalized Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. Of Hispanic Medicare beneficiaries, 44 percent were enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. Of African-American Medicare beneficiaries, 30 percent were Medicare Advantage plan members.

Medicare Advantage had a higher overall share of racial/ethnic populations compared to Medicare Fee-For-Service (FFS), 30 percent versus 23 percent. Medicare Advantage also had a higher share of Hispanic beneficiaries: 15 percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees were Hispanic compared to only 8 percent for Medicare FFS beneficiaries. The proportion of African Americans – 10 percent- was the same for Medicare Advantage and Medicare FFS.


Thirty-seven (37) percent of Medicare beneficiaries with Medicare Advantage coverage had incomes of less than $20,000. Approximately 18 percent had incomes of $50,000 or more. By comparison, 34 percent of Medicare FFS beneficiaries had incomes of less than $20,000. Approximately 28 percent had incomes of more than $50,000.


Medicare Advantage plans had a higher percentage of beneficiaries in the 65-84 age group: 77 percent compared to 71 percent for Medicare FFS.


Fifty-five (55) percent of Medicare beneficiaries with Medicare Advantage coverage were women. By comparison, women accounted for 54 percent of Medicare FFS beneficiaries.

As with prior reports in this series, the statistics in this report were calculated from the MCBS Access to Care files. We analyzed a subset of records for non-institutionalized (aged and disabled) beneficiaries eligible for Medicare starting January 1, 2012. All of the statistics include data on Medicare beneficiaries in 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. For the Medicare Advantage and Medicaid categories, June 2012 (a midpoint of the year) was the point in time for which beneficiary records were selected for inclusion.

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