New study shows, more Medicare beneficiaries switched from traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage in 2020 than vice versa for the fourth year in a row.1
However, high-need beneficiaries were more likely to switch from MA to traditional Medicare, according to the study, published in JAMA Health Forum. The study found that:
- In 2017, 3.7% of beneficiaries switched from MA to traditional Medicare, compared with 5.3% switching from traditional Medicare to MA.2
- In 2020, 2% of beneficiaries switched from MA to traditional Medicare, compared with 6.8% switching from traditional Medicare to MA.2
Switching is increasingly contributing to new MA enrollment growth, from 49% in 2016 and 67% in 2020. Overall, MA’s share of Medicare enrollment increased from 19% in 2007 to 46% in 2021 and is expected to make up more than half this year.2
The study uncovered differences in switching trends among various populations:1
- Switching in either direction for Medicare-only and dual-eligible beneficiaries tends to decline as beneficiaries age.
- Black and Hispanic beneficiaries had higher switching rates than white beneficiaries and were more likely to switch from traditional Medicare to MA in 2016 and 2020.
- In 2020, Black (13.4%) and Hispanic (13.5%) beneficiaries were more than twice as likely to disenroll from traditional Medicare, compared with white beneficiaries (5.9%).
- Mortality status was also a factor, with more beneficiaries in their last year of life likely to disenroll from MA (5.4%) in 2016 than from traditional Medicare (2.6%). In 2020, 3.1% of beneficiaries in their last year of life disenrolled from MA and 5.1% disenrolled from traditional Medicare.
The researchers noted that switching may also be linked to certain factors, including changes in health status, availability of specific services under MA and cost considerations.2
MA plans that offer innovative supplemental benefits and design plans and outreach that resonate with the populations most likely to switch are likely to enjoy a bigger share of the MA market as it continues to grow.
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- Bailey, V. Traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage switching rates grew in 2020. Health Payer Intelligence. Jan 3, 2023. https://healthpayerintelligence.com/news/traditional-medicare-to-medicare-advantage-switching-rates-grew-in-2020
- Unuigbe, A., Cintina, I., Koenig, L. Beneficiary switching between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage between 2016 and 2020. JAMA Health Forum. Dec. 29, 2022. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama-health-forum/fullarticle/2799962