Kaiser Family Foundation Analyzes the Rate that People with Medicare Make Plan Changes

Mitchell ClarkMedicare Watch0 Comments

Kaiser Family Foundation/Kff.org

A new Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) issue brief analyzes when people with Medicare make changes to their Medicare Advantage and Part D coverage. The paper highlights beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans with prescription drug coverage (MA-PDs) who change plans when given the opportunity.

According to the brief, most enrollees tend to stay in a Medicare Advantage plan once they enroll. Just 11 percent of people enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan in 2013 switched to another plan in 2014. Another two percent voluntarily switched to traditional Medicare and five percent were required to switch (involuntarily switched) because their plan exited the market.

The report also finds that the switching rate has been remarkably consistent since 2007, and that compared to people under 65 who shop for coverage in the Health Insurance Marketplace, far fewer Medicare beneficiaries switch plans than Marketplace enrollees. This research builds on prior studies, which found that roughly the same share of beneficiaries (5 percent) shift between Medicare Advantage and traditional Medicare each year and that switching rates from Medicare Advantage to traditional Medicare are higher among high-need, high-cost patients.

Younger beneficiaries and people who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid were more likely to switch, but no differences were found between men and women, or between urban and rural residents. The study also found that people were more likely to switch out of a plan where the premium increased and where the plan had lower than average star ratings.

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