According to a new study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Health Forum, Medicare Advantage is the best choice for seniors who are evaluating their options early in the open enrollment phase.
Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, gives seniors a choice in how they receive their medical services over the traditional fee-based Medicare plan. According to the JAMA study, this choice also offers seniors better value for money and better care.
The study, published by JAMA, examined data from nearly two million Medicare beneficiaries and concluded that “those enrolled in MA had lower rates of hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and 30-day readmissions.” In addition, the study found that “[a]Among Medicare beneficiaries with complex care needs, those enrolled in MA had lower acute care utilization, suggesting that managed care activities in MA may affect the type and quality of care provided to these beneficiaries.”
Medicare Advantage offers health care plans offered by approved private insurance providers. Unlike government-operated Medicare fee-based plans, Medicare Advantage plans may cover additional services that seniors rely on and depend on, such as: B. prescription medications and routine eye and dental care.
The option currently enjoys broad bipartisan support in Washington, with all four members of the New Hampshire federal delegation calling for more support for Medicare Advantage earlier this year. Senator Maggie Hassan was part of a group of 62 lawmakers who signed a letter in support of the program.
“We are writing to express our bipartisan support for the Medicare Advantage program and the quality, affordable care it provides to over 27 million older adults and people with disabilities,” said the letter, written by members as ideologically diverse as Sens .Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) and Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.)
In September, MPs Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas joined the House of Representatives when passing a bill on a ballot to make it easier for seniors using MA to get approval for treatments and prescriptions.
Traditional Medicare fees for benefits do not limit seniors’ out-of-pocket expenses and co-payments. As a result, beneficiaries pay nearly $2,000 more per year in total health-related expenses than those enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans.
Because Medicare Advantage relies on the private sector, some more progressive politicians oppose the option and have tried to limit its expansion or even scrap it altogether. The progressive magazine The American Prospect wrote a headline about Medicare benefits and their resistance to them “The Dark History of Medicare Privatization.”
Last week, Hassan, Pappas, Kuster and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen signed a letter urging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to protect New Hampshire Medicare beneficiaries who use aggressive and potentially predatory marketing tactics related to the sale of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans or other insurance products.
However, based on the data, it appears that seniors are satisfied with both the coverage and the quality of care received.
According to the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicare Advantage enrollment has doubled in the past 15 years. Currently, 32 percent of Granite State Medicare-eligible seniors are choosing Medicare Advantage over traditional, fee-based Medicare.
Reports from the Better Medicare Alliance, a research and advocacy group, show that 95 percent of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries are satisfied with their care network, and a whopping 88 percent say Medicare Advantage gives them more flexibility and choice.
A separate study published by JAMA found that Medicare Advantage beneficiaries received 9.2 percent fewer “expensive, potentially harmful” low-value services than fee-based Medicare members. In other words, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries received better quality care.