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HomeHealthcareResearch: Black and Hispanic beneficiaries drive MA enrollment growth

Research: Black and Hispanic beneficiaries drive MA enrollment growth

From 2009 to 2018, the number of enrollments in the Medicare Advantage program increased rapidly, with the largest increase concentrated in the minority population. To a new study Published in “Health Affairs”.

In 2009, 23% of Black Medicare beneficiaries participated in the Medicare Advantage plan, compared with 38% in 2018, a relative increase of 66%. Similarly, in the same decade, the percentage of Hispanic beneficiaries in these programs jumped from 33% to 48%, a relative increase of 43%.

In addition, the proportion of dual insured persons in the Medicare Advantage plan increased from 18% in 2009 to 37% in 2018, a relative increase of 101%. A dual insured person is a beneficiary who participates in both Medicare and Medicaid plans.

In contrast, in the same decade, the number of white beneficiaries of Medicare Advantage plans increased by 46%, and the number of non-dual enrollees increased by 43%. [Click image to enlarge]

The authors of the study examined the registration and demographic information contained in the summary documents for the main beneficiaries of health insurance from 2009-18. For information on the characteristics of Medicare Advantage plans, including special needs plan types, premiums, and star ratings, the researchers used publicly reported data from Medicare and Medicaid service centers.

Although this research was not commissioned, it was funded by the National Institute on Aging.

David J. Meyers, an assistant professor at Brown University School of Public Health, said in an email that with the increase in enrollment of ethnic minorities, the study found that minority beneficiaries were concentrated on specific plans in.

This also proved to be the most surprising finding of the study authors.

“Although we anticipate some changes, we are surprised by the number of minority beneficiaries who tend to participate in specific programs,” Meyers said. “Hispanic and Asian beneficiaries are particularly inclined to participate in programs where other Hispanic and Asian beneficiaries are very concentrated.”

In addition, Meyers and his colleagues found that minorities are more likely to participate in lower-quality programs. Approximately 70% of white beneficiaries’ programs are rated four or five stars, while the proportion of blacks is about 55%, the proportion of Hispanics is 60%, the proportion of Asians is 42%, and the proportion of Native Americans/ The proportion of American Indians is 54%.

The study authors write that, overall, the study shows that “the number of black and Hispanic participants in Medicare Advantage is increasing.” If current trends continue, most black, Hispanic, and dual Medicare beneficiaries will join the Medicare Advantage plan in the next five years.

Meyers said that for payers, the key conclusion of the study is that the high enrollment rate of minorities indicates that they need to play an important role in addressing health inequalities.

“As this registration continues, payers must ensure that they provide high-quality care and meet the unique needs of each beneficiary,” he said.

Photos: shapecharge, Getty Images, health affairs

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