In their recent Health Affairs paper, Sungchul Park and coauthors examine rates of switching from Medicare Advantage (MA) to traditional Medicare by patient characteristics. MA plans are the private insurance alternative to traditional fee-for-service Medicare overseen by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. While enrollment in MA has doubled over the past decade, Park and coauthors find that the needs of certain enrollees are not being met by MA plans.
Park and coauthors report that rural enrollees switch from MA to traditional Medicare at an adjusted annual rate of 10.5 percent, significantly higher than metropolitan residents, who switch at a rate of 5.0 percent.
This phenomenon was more pronounced among those who required the use of costly services such as facility stays or hospitalizations, those who had poor self-reported health, and individuals who reported lower satisfaction with their access to care.