Medicare Advantage benefits enrollees in many ways. Some plans offer coverage for things like dental and hearing care, services not covered by Original Medicare (Part A and Part B). Medicare Advantage can even be your one-stop-shop for prescription drug coverage. But can Medicare Advantage make you healthier? According to a new study: maybe.
In a study performed by Avalere Health, a health research firm backed by Better Medicare Alliance, researchers followed enrollees with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Of these patients, 1.5 million had Medicare Advantage and 1.2 million had fee-for-service Medicare.
The study found that Medicare Advantage enrollees had one-third fewer ER visits and 23 percent fewer hospital visits.
Medicare Advantage benefits
Medicare Advantage benefits enrollees by bundling healthcare needs like dental, hearing, and vision care along with prescription drug coverage to give you everything you need under a single plan. Moreover, Medicare Advantage encourages patients to see their primary care physicians more regularly for healthcare needs before they become emergencies. Medicare Advantage benefits also include higher rates of screenings and tests, thus giving patients healthier outcomes by catching health problems sooner.
Avalere Vice President Sean Creighton said in a statement accompanying the study, “[Medicare Advantage] incentivizes plans to provide more coordinated care and preventative services, enabling high-need beneficiaries to avoid costly complications and hospitalizations.”
How many people are enrolled in Medicare Advantage?
About 35 million Medicare enrollees (or about 20 million Americans) are enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. With Medicare Advantage becoming more and more popular due to more coverage options and increase healthcare outcomes, these numbers are expected to rise from 20 million to 38 million Americans (about 50 percent market penetration) by the end of 2025. Unfortunately, higher Medicare Advantage enrollment could mean higher prices for those enrolled in Original Medicare with hikes in things like premiums.