Seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage insurance plans could save 19 percent annually on health care spending by switching to a lower-cost Medicare Advantage alternative offered in their area, an AHRQ study found. More than 16 million Americans are covered by Medicare Advantage plans, which are offered by private insurers as alternatives to traditional Medicare. For each year that enrollees remained in their Medicare Advantage plans, researchers found, premium and out-of-pocket costs increased by roughly $50. Beneficiaries who remained in their plans for six or more years were most at risk of spending higher amounts, paying $786 more each year than they would have spent in the lowest-cost plan available to them. While some enrollees may intentionally choose higher-cost plans, the option to passively re-enroll in the same plan year after year may help explain these findings, study authors concluded. Access the study abstract, which appeared in the American Journal of Managed Care.
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