In 2021, Medicare Advantage enrollment is projected to be 44 percent higher than enrollment in 2017. Medicare Advantage enrollment growth has been spurred by new enrollees and those who switch after initial enrollment, choosing Medicare Advantage at a higher rate than Traditional FFS Medicare.
Growth is also spurred by strong enrollment in employer retiree Medicare Advantage plans, known as Employer Group Waiver Plans (EGWPs). Employers such as state and local governments, industries, and unions chose EGWPs to provide health insurance coverage to its retirees.
Enrollment in Medicare Advantage is, in part, driven by increased access to Medicare Advantage plans. In 2021, Medicare beneficiaries have access to over 4,800 plans offered across the country, an increase of 2,100 from 2017. Of the 4,800 plans offered, 2,900 are in rural counties.
Medicare Advantage’s framework provides the flexibility to cover more services and benefits not available in Traditional FFS Medicare.
Medicare Advantage beneficiaries choose plans based on cost of premiums and beneficiary cost-sharing, enhanced benefits, provider networks, and the plan’s quality rating.
State of Medicare Advantage Key Facts
Enrollment in Medicare Advantage is growing year over year with over 26 million people, or 42 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries currently enrolled in Medicare Advantage.
Medicare Advantage beneficiaries report a 98 percent satisfaction rate with their coverage.
The Medicare Advantage population is increasingly diverse. 33.7 percent of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries identify as a racial or ethnic minority, compared to 16 percent in Traditional FFS Medicare.
Medicare Advantage beneficiaries report lower average annual individual spending compared to Traditional FFS Medicare, with consumer cost savings of $1,640. This savings is a 40 percent lower rate of cost burden for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries.
Medicare Advantage has a 43 percent lower rate of avoidable hospitalizations for any reason, as compared to Traditional FFS Medicare, and higher rates of screening for conditions such as cancer and depression.
99 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries have access to at least one Medicare Advantage plan and 96 percent of Medicare Advantage beneficiaries have access to at least one zero-dollar premium plan.
About 90 percent of Medicare Advantage plans offer wellness, dental, vision, or hearing coverage, which are not available in Traditional FFS Medicare, and approximately 68 percent offer all four benefits. More plans also offer supplemental benefits for chronically ill beneficiaries that address social determinants of health.
52.7 percent of all Medicare Advantage beneficiaries live below 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Level, compared to 39.1 percent of beneficiaries in Traditional FFS Medicare.
99% of Medicare beneficiaries have access to at least one Medicare Advantage plan. Since 2017, the number of plans available to eligible beneficiaries has increased 78.5%, with an average of 47 plan choices per county.
94% of Medicare beneficiaries reside in counties served by at least one type of SNP.
96% of Medicare Advantage enrollees have access to at least one zero-dollar premium plan, and 60% of enrollees were in a zero-dollar premium plan in 2020.
89% of Medicare Advantage plans include prescription drug coverage, and 54% of these plans charge no premium.