Medicare Advantage plans outperform traditional Medicare

Medicare Advantage plans offered by private insurers result in better outcomes on certain key measures than traditional Medicare plans provided by the government, a new study shows.

Analyzing insurance claims for 3 million Medicare members, the Boston Consulting Group determined Medicare Advantage plans outperform traditional Medicare fee-for-service plans in single-year mortality, recovery from acute episodes of care requiring hospitalization and the sustainability of health over time, according to the study.

"Our findings demonstrate that the more managed plans do not compromise quality. Just the opposite: they deliver higher-quality care at a lower cost than fee-for-service medicine and thus do a better job of improving healthcare value," lead study author Jon Kaplan said last week in a statement.

How were Medicare Advantage insurers able to realize the improved measures? Report authors said they used three mechanisms to encourage cost-effective delivery of quality care--limited provider networks, financial incentives aligned with clinical best practices and care management methods emphasizing prevention.

Perhaps most importantly, Medicare Advantage insurers place a strong emphasis on preventive care, which helps them keep members healthy and avoid expensive hospital stays. Insurers offering Medicare Advantage plans often implemented such practices as detailed analytics that identify at-risk members, remote vital-sign monitoring and home visits from a multidisciplinary team of providers, the study noted.

To learn more:
- here's the study and statement