How do quality and access compare in Medicare Advantage versus traditional Medicare?
With so many seniors indecisive about whether to use a Medicare Advantage health plan or stick with traditional Medicare, the Kaiser Family Foundation commissioned a comprehensive review to compare how quality and access to care differ between the two.
Since 2000, 45 studies were published comparing traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans. The data in these reports tend to be old and provide limited examination of the experience since 2010, when the Affordable Care Act altered the landscape, reports the Kaiser Family Foundation.
Due to data constraints, most studies focus on a limited set of quality and access measures, rather than the experiences of plans and enrollees nationwide.
Within those limitations, the Kaiser Family Foundation analysis, conducted by lead author Marsha Gold, Senior Fellow Emeritus with Mathematica Policy Research, found that:
*Beneficiaries themselves continue to rate traditional Medicare more favorably than Medicare Advantage plans in terms of quality and access, though one study suggests that the difference may be narrowing for the average beneficiary. Among beneficiaries who are sick, the gap is particularly large, and favors traditional Medicare.
*Performance varies widely across Medicare Advantage plans even within the same type, which limits the ability to generalize across the program.