Low income beneficiaries are opting in significant numbers for Medicare Advantage and Medigap insurance over Medicare fee-for-service alone, according to two new studies released last week.
Conducted by the America’s Health Insurance Plans’ Center for Policy and Research, the reports also indicate that low income Medicare beneficiaries living in rural areas have found Medigap coverage to be particularly valuable. Additionally, the report found that Medicare advantage has become an important option for low income and minority beneficiaries.
According to Karen Ignagni, president and chief executive officer of AHIP, Washington, the reports are evidence that Medicare Advantage and Medigap coverage have been successful in improving access to affordable health care for low income beneficiaries.
“Private-sector coverage options strengthen the safety net for low income Medicare beneficiaries and help expand access to important health care services,” said Ignagni. “These results demonstrate the enhanced value of vibrant public-private partnerships.”
According to the Medicare Advantage study, 50% of Medicare Advantage enrollees in 2002 had incomes less than $20,000. That figure was even higher among minorities, with 71% of minority enrollees at an income level below $20,000.