Less Than One-Third of New Medicare Beneficiaries Enrolled in Medicare Advantage During Their First Year on Medicare 

The Share Varies Considerably Across States and Counties

Twenty-nine percent of new beneficiaries chose to enroll in Medicare Advantage during their first year in Medicare in 2016, finds a new KFF analysis.

That level generally matches the overall share of beneficiaries who opted for Medicare Advantage that year, but does not support the view that the aging Baby Boom generation, having had more experience with HMOs and PPOs during their working years, would select the private plans over traditional Medicare at relatively high rates.  In fact, the share of new beneficiaries choosing Medicare Advantage has increased only modestly over the years.

The share choosing Medicare Advantage in their first year varies considerably across states and counties, however. Less than 11 percent of new beneficiaries picked Medicare Advantage in Delaware, Maryland, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Vermont and the District of Columbia, to cite a few examples, while more than 40 percent selected such plans in Oregon and Minnesota.

The analysis examines Medicare Advantage enrollment rates among new beneficiaries over time, by geographic location and according to age and other characteristics of enrollees.

A second, updated analysis of Medicare Advantage provides 2019 data on enrollment, premiums and out-of-pocket limits. In 2019, 34 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries, or 22 million people, are enrolled in the private plans.

For more on Medicare Advantage, including our newly updated fact sheet, visit kff.org.