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More News on Medicare Advantage’s Advantages

By October 2, 2009November 2nd, 2009Commentary

The Alliance of Community Health Plans is a group of health insurers, largely non-profit, many of which participate in the Medicare Advantage program.  ACHP asked Dr. Gerard Anderson, a noted research in the care of the elderly, to compare certain quality measures for ACHP plans with those in Medicare fee-for-service.  (ACHP Study) (OregonLive Story) The study focused on hospital re-admissions, preventable hospital admissions and emergency room visits.  As with a similar AHIP study, the health plans performed significantly better than fee-for-service Medicare and Dr. Anderson found that if traditional Medicare did as well as the Medicare Advantage plans, it would have saved over $10 billion a year.

Aside from adding further questions to the wisdom of discouraging Medicare Advantage enrollment, the study points out the value of intensive care coordination, particularly for patients with complex illnesses.  The private marketplace appears to have done a significantly better job at this than traditional Medicare.  For those who are concerned about reducing health care spending, particularly Medicare spending,  this may be a good place to start and could create more opportunities for private care management companies.

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