According to a recent article in Forbes, almost 1 in 3 Medicare recipients now get their Medicare coverage from a Medicare ADvantage plan. That is an increase of almost 8% in just the last couple of years.
This news comes as quite a surprise to those who started to forecast the end of Medicare Advantage plans as a result of decreased funding over the past few years. What seems to have happened instead is a rush INTO Advantage plans by Medicare beneficiaries who are growing more and more accepting of managed care plans.
Most Medicare Advantage plans are managed care plans, such as HMO’s and PPO’s. Typically, a small to moderate premium is paid monthly, in additiona to co-pays or co-insurance at the time of service. Drug plans are included with most, but not all, Medicare Advantage plans.
This approach stands in contrast to the traditional method of covering “gaps” in Medicare by purchasing supplemental policies. Today, this still is a viable approach and is the preferred approach by people who still cherish freedom to choose their own doctors. In addition, Advantage plans are not always readiliy available in many rural areas.
A trend we have noticed is a decrease in the number of Medicare Advantage plans even in moderately sized metro areas such as Reno, Nevada. What seems to be happening in many markets is the maturing of the Advantage plans which has tended to weed out plans that are not popular with the public. What’s left is a somewhat smaller number of viable plan options.
For information on Medicare Advantage plans in markets we serve, contact our offices via phone or email and we’ll be glad to help.