A recent post by health economist Uwe Reinhardt in the Journal of the American Medical Association Forum discusses the fact that despite all the support Medicare Advantage (MA) plans have received, the vast majority of Medicare beneficiaries still prefer Traditional Medicare.
30% of Medicare recipients now receive their coverage through MA plans. This is largely because MA plans can often offer more benefits at lower premiums. However, according to Reinhardt, these supposed bargains come at other costs. Highly subsidized MA plans cost taxpayers far more per beneficiary than traditional Medicare, are allowed to make coverage based on cost-effectiveness, and offer limited networks.
Traditional Medicare, on the other hand, costs taxpayers less, and offers beneficiaries freedom of choice among all Medicare certified providers. Traditional Medicare offers real choice of care, not a choice among insurance companies that determine where and what care is received.
A truly successful Medicare Advantage program would no longer need to be paid more per beneficiary than traditional Medicare. It’s time to insist on complete parity between MA plans and traditional Medicare.