Over 28 million Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage Plans in 2023. This represents nearly 50% of all people with Medicare. But with many pros and cons to consider, are Medicare beneficiaries actually satisfied with their Medicare Advantage coverage?
In this article, we’ll look at recent surveys and studies evaluating satisfaction levels among people enrolled in Medicare Advantage Plans compared to those with Original Medicare. We’ll also discuss key factors impacting satisfaction with Medicare Advantage.
Medicare Advantage Satisfaction vs. Original Medicare Coverage
According to a 2022 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, over 85% of Medicare Advantage enrollees rate their coverage as excellent or good. Satisfaction with Medicare Advantage was higher than among those with Original Medicare, where 78% rated their coverage positively.
Additional surveys by groups like JD Power and Medicare Advantage carriers also show most people enrolled in Medicare Advantage Plans are satisfied with their medical coverage and the quality of care received.
Let’s look at some key advantages of Medicare Advantage that contribute to this relatively high satisfaction rate among enrollees:
Extra benefits – Many Medicare Advantage Plans include dental, vision, hearing and other benefits not offered by Original Medicare. Access to these extra benefits at low or no cost reduces out-of-pocket expenses for enrollees.
Out-of-pocket caps – Unlike Original Medicare, most Medicare Advantage Plans have an annual limit on how much you pay out-of-pocket for covered medical care. This provides financial protection and peace of mind.
Prescription drug coverage – Medicare Advantage Plans integrate Medicare Part D prescription drug benefits making medication management simpler and easier.
Coordinated care – Medicare Advantage Plans have care management programs and targeted clinical interventions that aim to provide quality care focused on the whole patient.
Lower costs – Medicare Advantage Plans can have $0 premiums and lower deductibles and copays than enrolling in Original Medicare plus a supplemental Medigap Plan.
These advantages appear to be pleasing many Medicare Advantage enrollees and contributing to higher satisfaction scores compared to Original Medicare.
What Do People Like About Medicare Advantage?
Surveys asking Medicare Advantage members what they like about their coverage highlight:
- Low or no premiums
- Dental, vision and hearing benefits
- Prescription drug coverage
- Fixed out-of-pocket maximum costs
- Coverage when traveling
- Gym memberships
- Customer service
For many enrollees, the expanded benefits offered by Medicare Advantage Plans compared to Original Medicare are the top reason for choosing Medicare Advantage. The predictability of costs along with additional benefits help explain why satisfaction remains high.
Potential Disadvantages of Medicare Advantage Coverage
However, Medicare Advantage comes with some potential drawbacks that must also be considered:
Network restrictions – Medicare Advantage Plans have provider networks. Some enrollees deal with limited provider choice compared to Original Medicare, depending on the plan.
Pre-approvals – Some Medicare Advantage Plans require pre-approval for certain services and procedures which delays care. Under Original Medicare pre-approvals are not required.
Changing costs – Benefits, networks and costs can fluctuate year-to-year with Medicare Advantage Plans. This uncertainty does not exist under Original Medicare.
Harsher penalties – Income-related surcharges for joining a Medicare Advantage Plan late are higher than for delaying Original Medicare enrollment.
These disadvantages need to be weighed against the expanded benefits Medicare Advantage offers when considering satisfaction. Costs increasing down the road or losing access to a preferred doctor can negatively impact enrollee satisfaction.
Key Factors Impacting Medicare Advantage Satisfaction
Research into Medicare Advantage satisfaction shows several factors have the biggest influence on enrollee happiness:
Out-of-pocket costs – The amount Medicare Advantage members pay in copays, deductibles and other expenses is strongly linked to satisfaction. Plans with lower out-of-pocket costs have higher satisfaction.
Quality of care – Medicare Advantage enrollees who rate their quality of medical care highly and feel their health has improved tend to report higher satisfaction with their plans.
Customer service – Responsive customer service and making it easy for members to get answers to questions is directly related to satisfaction ratings for Medicare Advantage insurers.
Providers – Having access to preferred doctors, hospitals and pharmacies and avoiding provider network restrictions is important to satisfaction.
Drug coverage – Easy to use prescription drug coverage with low copays for medications contributes to happier Medicare Advantage Plan members.
These factors highlight what is important to Medicare Advantage enrollees and what drives positive experiences with Medicare Advantage Plans.
Results Vary Between Specific Plans
It’s important to note that satisfaction with Medicare Advantage can vary significantly based on the specific insurer and individual plan. Each year, Medicare rates and assigns “Star Ratings” to different Medicare Advantage Plans based on factors like customer satisfaction, quality of care, and member services.
Plans with 4 stars or higher tend to have much happier enrollees according to Medicare data. Choosing highly-rated plans can improve your satisfaction potential with Medicare Advantage coverage.
Weighing the Pros and Cons of Medicare Advantage
Medicare Advantage Plans have potential advantages but also drawbacks to consider. On average, surveys show Medicare Advantage enrollees are slightly more satisfied overall compared to those with Original Medicare.
But Medicare Advantage might not be ideal for every beneficiary. To decide what’s best for you, closely evaluate your specific healthcare needs, preferred providers, prescription medications, and budget to make the optimal Medicare coverage choice.
Most Are Happy But Check Plan Details
In summary, data shows the majority of Medicare Advantage members are satisfied with their coverage and happy with the extra benefits and services their plans provide. But you still need to research plan details thoroughly before enrolling to maximize satisfaction with your Medicare Advantage coverage.
We’re Here to Help
You do not have to spend hours reading articles on the internet to get answers to your Medicare questions. Give the licensed insurance agents at Glidden Group a Call at (208) 962-0077. You will get the answers you seek in a matter of minutes, with no pressure and no sales pitch. We are truly here to help.
Are People Happy With Their Medicare Advantage Plans?
A: Many Medicare Advantage Plans offer additional benefits beyond what is covered by traditional Medicare, such as prescription drug coverage and dental or vision services. These extra benefits can make people quite happy with their Medicare Advantage Plans.
What is a Medicare Advantage Plan?
A Medicare Advantage Plan is a private health insurance plan that provides the same coverage as traditional Medicare but may also offer additional benefits. It is an alternative to traditional Medicare.
How do I enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan?
To enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you must first be eligible for Medicare and then select a plan that meets your needs. You can enroll during the annual enrollment period or when you first become eligible for Medicare.
What is the difference between a Medicare Advantage Plan and a Medicare Supplement Plan?
Medicare Advantage Plans replace traditional Medicare and provide all the same coverage. Medicare Supplement Plans, also known as Medigap Plans, work alongside traditional Medicare to cover some or all of the out-of-pocket costs.
Do Medicare Advantage Plans require me to have a prescription drug plan?
Many Medicare Advantage Plans include prescription drug coverage. If your plan does not include this coverage, you may need to enroll in a separate prescription drug plan.
Do most Medicare Advantage Plans have extra benefits beyond what is covered by traditional Medicare?
Yes, many Medicare Advantage Plans offer additional benefits such as dental, vision, and hearing coverage, as well as fitness programs and wellness services.
How do I find a Medicare Advantage Plan that accepts my doctor?
You can use the Medicare Plan Finder tool on the official Medicare website to search for Medicare Advantage Plans in your area that accept your doctor.
Are people in Medicare Advantage Plans often happy with their health insurance coverage?
A: Medicare Advantage Plans often provide comprehensive coverage at a lower cost than traditional Medicare. Many people in Medicare Advantage Plans are happy with their health insurance coverage.
How does enrollment in a Medicare Advantage Plan affect my Medicare Part B premium?
If you enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan, you must continue to pay your Medicare Part B premium. However, some Medicare Advantage Plans may offer premium reductions or rebate programs.
How do I sign up for Medicare Advantage?
To sign up for Medicare Advantage, you can contact a Medicare Advantage Plan directly or use the online enrollment process on the official Medicare website.