By Karen Stokes
Recently the National Caucus and Center on Black Aging (NCBA) published a new report examining “The Benefits of Medicare Advantage for Black Americans.”
The report found that Medicare Advantage (MA) offers several unique elements that while advantageous to beneficiaries across demographic groups it may be particularly aligned with the needs of Black beneficiaries.
Key elements associated with MA plans include: Lower costs and greater savings, due in part to maximum out-of-pocket (OOP) limits, Medicare Advantage has a 35 percent lower rate of cost burden as compared to traditional Medicare. Coverage of supplemental benefits, unlike traditional Medicare, nearly all MA plans (99 percent) offer coverage of supplemental benefits such as vision, dental, hearing, telehealth and/or wellness. More coordinated and consistent access to care and medicines, particularly through special needs plans (SNPs), SNPs are tailored Medicare Advantage plans designed to meet the unique health care needs of some of the most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries. Improved health outcomes, research shows that Medicare Advantage outperforms traditional Medicare across a range of health outcome categories and metrics.
“Increasingly we’re seeing older Black adults choose Medicare Advantage over traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Today 49 percent of Black adults eligible for Medicare are enrolled in an MA plan and between 2013 and 2019 alone, minority MA enrollment grew by 111 percent,” said Karyne Jones, President and CEO of NCBA.
“Black seniors have higher rates of economic instability, poorer access to high quality care, greater rates of chronic conditions, and myriad other adverse impacts related to social determinants of health compared to White seniors. As our report makes clear, Medicare Advantage’s supplemental benefits, better care coordination, and cost savings are particularly meaningful for this unique population group.”