Even Medicare beneficiaries with very low incomes are willing to pay extra to supplement basic Medicare benefits with private insurance.[@@]
Researchers at a research center affiliated with the America’s Health Insurance Plans, Washington, have published 2 studies this week that assess the appeal of private Medicare programs to Medicare enrollees with annual incomes under $20,000.
Both studies are based on 2002 data collected by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency that runs Medicare, the federal program that insures the health of elderly and disabled U.S. residents at all income levels.
One of the studies dealt with the Medicare Advantage managed care program, which provides health maintenance organizations and preferred provider organization plans that handle beneficiaries’ basic and supplemental health care needs.
The other study focused on Medicare supplement insurance plans, which are private insurance plans that fill in the many gaps left by the basic Medicare fee-for-service program.
AHIP researchers found that Medicare Advantage plans tend to be most popular among low-income and minority beneficiaries and that Medigap plans are most popular in rural areas, according to AHIP President Karen Ignagni.