Since the 1970s, Medicare beneficiaries have had the option to receive their Medicare benefits through private health plans, mainly Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), as an alternative to the federally administered traditional Medicare program. The Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997 named Medicare’s managed care program “Medicare+Choice” and the Medicare Modernization Act (MMA) of 2003 renamed it “Medicare Advantage.”  In 2019, the majority of the 64 million people on Medicare are covered by traditional Medicare, but one-third (34%) are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. Over the past decade, the number of beneficiaries enrolled in private plans has nearly doubled from 11.1 million in 2010 to 22.0 million in 2019.

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A Dozen Facts About Medicare Advantage in 2020

Medicare Advantage enrollment has grown rapidly over the past decade, and Medicare Advantage plans have taken on a larger role in the Medicare program. More than 24 million Medicare beneficiaries (36%) are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans in 2020. This data analysis provides updated information about Medicare Advantage enrollment trends, premiums, and out-of-pocket limits. It also includes analyses of Medicare Advantage plans’ extra benefits and prior authorization requirements. The analysis also highlights changes pertaining to Medicare Advantage coverage that have occurred in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Problems Getting Care Due to Cost or Paying Medical Bills Among Medicare Beneficiaries

There is ongoing discussion as to whether Congress should waive COVID-19 treatment costs. To inform these discussions, this analysis examines the extent of health care cost-related problems among Medicare beneficiaries. The analysis is based on a composite measure that includes problems getting care due to cost, delays seeking care due to cost, and problems paying medical bills among people with Medicare.

How Much Could Medicare Beneficiaries Pay For a Hospital Stay Related to COVID-19?

As the coronavirus continues to spread, the number of people on Medicare admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 related illness is expected to rise. We analyze how much Medicare beneficiaries could pay out-of-pocket for an inpatient hospital admission under traditional Medicare (assuming no supplemental coverage) or Medicare Advantage plans.

No Itch to Switch: Few Medicare Beneficiaries Switch Plans During the Open Enrollment Period

This analysis finds that a relatively small share of people with Medicare Advantage or stand-alone Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage voluntarily switch plans during Medicare’s open enrollment period, which runs annually from Oct. 15 to Dec. 7. Shopping around among plans is important, since plans can vary significantly and change from year to year, which can have a large impact on enrollees’ coverage and costs.

Analysis Finds Record 3,148 Medicare Advantage Plans Will be Available in 2020

A record 3,148 Medicare Advantage plans will be available across the country as alternatives to traditional Medicare, a new KFF analysis finds. That’s up 15% from last year’s 2,734 plans and results in a typical beneficiary having 28 plans available to them in their local market for the 2020 Medicare…

Medicare Advantage 2020 Spotlight: First Look

In 2020, more than 22 million Medicare beneficiaries (34%) are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans, which are mainly HMOs and PPOs offered by private insurers as an alternative to the traditional Medicare program. This data note provides an overview of the Medicare Advantage plans that will be available in 2020, including the variation in the number of plans available by county and plan type. The brief also examines the insurers entering the Medicare Advantage market for the first time and also examines the insurers exiting the market.

Medicare Open Enrollment FAQs

This list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Medicare Open Enrollment covers a range of topics related to Medicare enrollment, Medicare Advantage, Part D, Medigap, employer/retiree coverage, Medicaid and other low-income assistance, Medicare and the Marketplaces, and more.