Medicare Advantage plan holders spend $1,640 less a year compared with traditional fee-for-service, a new analysis finds.
The analysis released Tuesday from the advocacy group Better Medicare Alliance also found that lower-income Medicare beneficiaries are more likely to choose MA over the traditional program.
Beneficiaries in MA reported out-of-pocket and premium spending of $3,354 a year in 2018, compared with $4,994 in fee-for-service, the analysis added. That was a $42 increase since 2017.
“This results in a 40% lower cost burden for consumers than traditional Medicare,” said Allyson Schwartz, president and CEO of Better Medicare Alliance, in a statement. “The consumer savings in Medicare Advantage translates to meaningful financial security and peace of mind for millions of beneficiaries.”
The analysis also found that more than 40% of beneficiaries who make under 200% of the federal poverty level were enrolled in MA, compared with 27% of beneficiaries that make more than 400% of the poverty level.
Researchers also found that 52% of MA beneficiaries live below 200% of the poverty level, compared with 39.1% of beneficiaries in traditional Medicare fee-for-service.
MA beneficiaries are also more likely to be dual-eligible and enrolled in Medicaid.
“Dual eligible often are a focus of policy efforts due to their medical functional complexity, as well as their socioeconomic disadvantage,” the analysis said.
Researchers found that 21.9% of MA beneficiaries are eligible for Medicaid compared to 15.3% of traditional fee-for-service Medicare.
MA beneficiaries also report a similar satisfaction rate for their healthcare quality compared with traditional Medicare, as 94.6% of MA beneficiaries are satisfied compared with 95% for traditional Medicare.
Another 96% of MA beneficiaries find it easy to get to a doctor, compared with 94.5% for traditional Medicare.
The analysis comes as the MA program is expected to increase over recent years and has become a key part of insurers’ portfolios.