Almost one in every four seniors is enrolled in a Medicare Advantage (MA) plan. These plans are run by private insurers. They receive a risk-adjusted annual fee for each enrollee from Medicare; and they tend to provide comprehensive benefits, similar to what nonseniors typically have. President Obama says the government is overpaying and wants to cut revenues to these plans by $177 billion over ten years. Industry sources say 5 million seniors would lose their coverage as a result. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says that under House Bill (H.R. 3200) 3 million current enrollees would lose coverage, rising to 6 million by 2019.
I previously reported on the relative performance of eight major MA plans vis-a-vis conventional Medicare. Now there is new data for all MA plans versus all standard Medicare in two states: California and Nevada. Assembled by the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality the data shows:
- Inpatient (hospital) days for MA enrollees were 30% lower than Medicare patients in California and 23% lower in Nevada.
- Same quarter readmissions in MA plans were 15% and 33% lower in the two states, respectively.
- Potentially avoidable admissions were 6% lower than for Medicare in both states.