skip to Main Content

Traditional Medicare Beneficiaries Switching to Medicare Advantage

A study published in Health Affairs journal found that a majority of beneficiaries who enrolled in private Medicare Advantage plans between 2006 and 2011 were switching from traditional Medicare. The study showed that enrollees switching from traditional Medicare account for the majority of new beneficiaries in Medicare Advantage plans each year.

The study sought to investigate whether the 2006-2011 growth in private Medicare Advantage plans was due primarily to newly eligible beneficiaries choosing Medicare Advantage, or because beneficiaries enrolled in traditional Medicare were making a switch. The study utilized claims data and enrollment/disenrollment file to draw its conclusion.

The study found that in 2011, about 52 percent of new Medicare Advantage beneficiaries had switched from traditional Medicare. It also found that beneficiaries new to Medicare accounted for about 48 percent of new Medicare Advantage enrollees. However the study also reports that the group of beneficiaries who switch between traditional Medicare and Medicare Advantage is relatively small, reinforcing the notion that most Medicare beneficiaries make a coverage choice and stick with it.

Some other findings reported from the study are that enrollees newly eligible for Medicare that elected Medicare Advantage plan coverage instead of traditional Medicare during initial enrollment rose slightly from 15 percent in 2006 to 22 percent in 2011. According to this study,enrollees in their first few years on Medicare (age 65-69) switched from traditional Medicare to Medicare Advantage at higher rates than other beneficiaries. Conversely, beneficiaries dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid (dual eligibles) as well as Medicare beneficiaries under age 65 and disabled, disenrolled from Medicare Advantage at higher than average rates.

Many seniors are recognizing the advantages and benefits of the Medicare Advantage program over traditional Medicare. Medicare Advantage is also becoming a popular choice for newly-eligible Medicare seniors.Medicare Advantage enrollment continues to grow, increasing by 41 percent just last year. Medicare Advantage enrollment is projected to increase to a new all-time high in 2015, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Marc Ryan

Marc S. Ryan serves as MedHOK’s Chief Strategy and Compliance Officer. During his career, Marc has served a number of health plans in executive-level regulatory, compliance, business development, and operations roles. He has launched and operated plans with Medicare, Medicaid, Commercial and Exchange lines of business. Marc was the Secretary of Policy and Management and State Budget Director of Connecticut, where he oversaw all aspects of state budgeting and management. In this role, Marc created the state’s Medicaid and SCHIP managed care programs and oversaw its state employee and retiree health plans. He also created the state’s long-term care continuum program. Marc was nominated by then HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson to serve on a panel of state program experts to advise CMS on aspects of Medicare Part D implementation. He also was nominated by Florida’s Medicaid Secretary to serve on the state’s Medicaid Reform advisory panel.

Marc graduated cum laude from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service. He received a Master of Public Administration, specializing in local government management and managed healthcare, from the University of New Haven. He was inducted into Sigma Beta Delta, a national honor society for business, management, and administration.

Back To Top