More Americans Choosing Medicare Advantage Plans Amid Pandemic 

For or against government run healthcare? For or against private health insurance?

How is it the best deal for many retirees is private health insurance?

Many retirees get MA free, many receive extra benefits and prescription coverage included. The tradeoff is that health care providers must be in the plans network, but that does not seem to stop millions of retirees.

The question is, are Medicare Advantage plans simply more efficient than Medicare or are they subsidized by government at a higher than justified level?

A 9% year-over-year increase was observed in the number of US Medicare beneficiaries who enrolled in a Medicare Advantage health plan in 2020, with the increase in enrollment influenced by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and its related effects.

Based on preliminary open enrollment data collected from October 15 to December 7, 2020, 36% of the 67.7 million Medicare beneficiaries in the United States are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan this year, marking a 9% year-over-year increase. In a study conducted by MedicareAdvantagePlans.org, researchers sought to poll Medicare beneficiaries on their reasoning for enrolling in a MA plan.

As the authors note, MA plans, also known as Medicare Part C, have grown in popularity in recent years as it has been associated with being more cost-effective, flexible, and typically including Part D prescription drug coverage.

After surveying adult Americans that are eligible for Medicare and already enrolled in a MA plan for 2021 (N = 700), this year’s increase in enrollment was influenced by several factors, particularly the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and its related effects.

While 29% chose the plan for its prescription drug coverage, and 16% for its affordability, 9% of MA enrolled Americans chose it for its supplemental benefits.

Source: More Americans Choosing Medicare Advantage Plans Amid Pandemic | AJMC

3 comments

  1. In am an Independent Agent contracted to offer Supplemental and Advantage Plans.

    Seniors who are aging in and are coming off an employer offered plan understand the Advantage plans better as their present plan usually has co-pays and coinsurance. They are willing to choose a low or zero premium plan and I encourage them to deposit the money that they would have spent if they chose the Supplemental plan into a separate savings account to cover unexpected medical services.

    Seniors who are aging in and coming off a Individual plan (Obamacare) are so used to paying so much in premium that they are apt to choose the Supplemental plan, It costs them less and has better coverage.

    Also, Advantage Plans are great for seniors who are close to but not eligible for LIS help. They still have great protection due to the mandated Out of Pocket Maximum and there are many services that will help them if they run into additional expenses. They are also protected from the Rx penalty without additional cost.

    And then there are those that think if you pay low or zero dollars that it must be a scam. Education is key,

    It is a comfort level. No plan is best for everybody. It is important that they understand the costs of each, dollars vs. coverage. Some Advantage plans now have national networks, but not every doctor is in their networks. With the Supplement plans you can go to any doctor that accepts Medicare. Comfort.

    Plans that offer ‘everything free’ are usually DSNP plans for Medicaid participants. The ads are very deceptive as they do not disclose this. They get you to call, they take your personal information and sell it to companies that sell leads to new agents trying to increase their book of business! Then the client incurs call upon call from agents that buy leads.

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    1. The big factor is the limited physician access. We’re it not for that MA would be they primary source of coverage … until CMS starts trimming the subsidies.

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  2. !00% of the people choosing MA, do so because of all the ADs on TV, LOL. Since I travel for several months each year I need to stay with regular Medicare. I am lucky, I have Tricare for Life as a military retiree, that is the second payer and pays the 20% that Medicare does not and I get Medications for free at military clinics. My wife and I can now be seen at a military clinic or hospital if space is available, then the military bills Medicare for the service. Or we can see any doctor that excepts Medicare. For many who can live with the network restrictions and some additional wait times for referral approvals, that may be denied, to get the added benefits, MA might be better, not all plans give you everything for free, like the Ads say. Medicare Advantage Plans do have a place in the healthcare choices basket. There are some additional out of pocket costs with MA plans, educate yourself about these charges, so there are no surprises. But at least you do not need to purchase supplemental insurance. Medicare is not really government run healthcare, it is government funded healthcare.

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