Research reveals the financial discrepancies between Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare Supplement beneficiaries.
Most MA enrollees are satisfied with their plan coverage, but are more financially challenged than Medicare Supplement (Medigap) beneficiaries, according to an eHealth report.
The research surveyed 3,880 Medicare enrollees who purchased their coverage through eHealth in February 2023 to highlight how MA and Medicare Supplement beneficiaries differ in financial profile.
While both MA and Medicare Supplement enrollees are largely satisfied with their coverage, to the tune of 89% and 87%, respectively, MA beneficiaries are more vulnerable to higher premiums and other costs.
Of those surveyed, 73% of MA enrollees live on less than $50,000 per year, with 39% living on less than $25,000. In comparison, 50% of those on Medicare Supplement live on more than $50,000, with 31% living on $75,000 or more.
Income level contributes to 52% of MA beneficiaries saying they cannot afford any monthly premiums, with an additional 18% saying they cannot afford one of more than $25.
When it comes to out-of-pocket costs, only 37% of MA enrollees say they have enough savings to pay for hospitalization, versus 61% for Medicare Supplement beneficiaries.
Respondents have different worries for the future, depending on what plan they're on. For MA members, the biggest worry is not being able to afford their medical care in the future (chosen by 39%), while Medicare Supplement enrollees are most concerned with seeing their Medicare benefits reduced (selected by 32%).
"The challenges that lie ahead for Medicare Advantage underscore the importance of highlighting the financial vulnerabilities of millions of beneficiaries who depend on the program," said eHealth CEO Fran Soistman.
"We'll continue to advocate on their behalf with our carrier partners to ensure that enrollees' need for both affordable premiums and affordable out-of-pocket costs are given the attention they deserve."
As MA continues to grow exponentially, it will be important for benefits of an expanding membership group to be protected.
Jay Asser is an associate editor for HealthLeaders.
An eHealth report surveyed over 3,800 Medicare enrollees and found Medicare Advantage members more financially vulnerable than those with Medicare Supplement.
Nearly three in four Medicare Advantage members live on less than $50,000 per year, while 52% say they cannot afford any monthly premiums.