A new analysis
from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 147 counties lack Medicare Advantage plans – many more than the 19 counties expected to lack an Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace insurer next year. Yet Medicare Advantage, the private plans that cover a third of all Medicare beneficiaries, is often described as an example of a robust insurance market, while some policymakers say the “bare” counties under the ACA are evidence that the law is failing. A key difference is that Medicare beneficiaries can always get coverage under traditional Medicare, while no similar option exists in the marketplaces. The new analysis highlights the number of counties that lack Medicare Advantage plans and assesses some of the potential reasons why such counties have trouble attracting insurers.