Medicare open enrollment begins in October, so now is a great time to find out why nearly 30 million Americans have chosen to enroll in Medicare Advantage instead of original Medicare.
By the Numbers
According to Kaiser Family Foundation research, enrollment in Medicare Advantage has more than doubled over the last 15 years, growing from 19% of eligible individuals enrolled in 2007 to nearly 50% in 2022. In 25 states, including Florida, California, New York, Arizona, and Pennsylvania, at least half of those eligible choose Medicare Advantage.
The three central reasons for this continued growth are clear: Medicare Advantage delivers better services, better access to care, and better value.
Medicare Advantage works to ensure seniors and those with disabilities get the care they need by offering additional benefits that original Medicare doesn’t cover, such as integrated vision, hearing, dental, wellness programs, in-home caregiver support, behavioral health support, and innovative telehealth options.
Coalition for Medicare Choices member Anne is among many who have taken advantage of mental health support included in the program. Another Coalition member, Carroll shared the benefit of the wellness programs and exercise classes to help her stay connected. “It makes me want to get up, get dressed, put make-up on, comb my hair, and get out,” not only for the physical benefits, but for the social aspects, she said.
Most Medicare Advantage plans also include comprehensive prescription drug coverage, with many offering this coverage at no additional cost. Coalition member Violeta values her Medicare Advantage for many reasons, including the home delivery of her prescriptions and the peace of mind her coverage provides.
Better Access to Care
Additional coverage for services that original Medicare does not cover is very important for seniors, said Jocelyne Fliger, CEO of Elder Care Services and Medicare Advantage advocate. From treatments for the very ill to fitness benefits for the more active, Medicare Advantage helps members access the support and care they need. Coalition member Jeanette said the program is personalized and makes her “feel healthy, mentally and physically.” Many Medicare Advantage members also appreciate that Medicare Advantage provides transportation to needed care.
For individuals on a fixed income, Medicare Advantage offers critical value and affordability. In 2022, Medicare Advantage premiums dropped 10% to an average premium of just $19 per month. Additionally, Medicare Advantage caps out-of-pocket costs for members, which helps those living on fixed incomes access high-quality health care. In fact, 40% of Medicare Advantage members make less than $25,000 per year — many of whom might not be able to afford the out-of-pocket costs associated with original Medicare.
For Coalition members Phil and Nancy, zero copays and no deductibles make their coverage affordable. Coalition member Carl was able to have cataract surgery at no cost to him thanks to his Medicare Advantage coverage. From cancer care to affordable prescription drugs and vision care, Medicare Advantage provides better value to millions of those who need it most.
Together, the better services, better access to care, and better value of Medicare Advantage help explain why the program is projected to grow again in 2023, providing high quality, affordable health care to even more seniors and people with disabilities.
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