New evidence suggests Medicare Advantage may not serve some sicker Medicare beneficiaries as well as it does healthier ones.
Medicare Advantage’s private health insurance plans offer at least the same benefits as the public, traditional Medicare program for older Americans, as well as some who are disabled or have certain diseases. The private plans may also offer additional benefits not available from traditional Medicare — like coverage for hearing aids and eyeglasses — and lower patient cost sharing. These features make Medicare Advantage attractive and help explain why the program is surging in popularity.
But several new studies raise doubt about whether Medicare Advantage plans are as good as traditional Medicare for all beneficiaries. Though some evidence suggests Medicare Advantage plans offer higher quality andgreater efficiency than traditional Medicare, that may not benefit some sicker people — like those needing hospitalization, home health care or nursing home care — or those with certain mental illnesses, like depression.
– The New York Times