(NewsUSA) - Medicare’s open enrollment period ends on December 7, and an estimated 31.8 million seniors and Americans with disabilities will choose a Medicare Advantage plan for their health coverage in the coming year, according to data from the federal government.
What is Medicare Advantage? For Medicare-eligible beneficiaries, it is an increasingly popular health coverage option within the Medicare program, in which plans are offered by Medicare-approved private companies in partnership with the federal government, who sets the rules for the plan. Beneficiaries who choose a Medicare Advantage Plan still have Medicare, but their care is covered by their health plan of choice rather than by traditional Fee-for-Service Medicare.
Since 2006, the number of seniors picking Medicare Advantage has more than doubled and today 48 percent of Medicare beneficiaries choose a Medicare Advantage plan – a percentage that is expected to continue growing in coming years. A big reason may be the substantial cost savings Medicare Advantage beneficiaries enjoy.
Medicare Advantage premiums continue to fall, and average premiums for 2023 are down nearly 8 percent from 2022. Additional research finds that seniors who choose Medicare Advantage save nearly $2,000 on average per year compared to traditional Medicare.
Mary Beth Donahue, President & CEO of Better Medicare Alliance, a nonprofit research and advocacy coalition supporting Medicare Advantage, says the program is helping seniors save money on health care at a time when costs of living have risen sharply and weigh heavily on seniors’ fixed-income budgets.
“Medicare Advantage is once again meeting the moment with lower costs, added benefits, and a superior health care experience,” Donahue said. “With the lowest average monthly premiums in 16 years, and separate data showing that Medicare Advantage saves seniors nearly $2,000 per year on total health expenditures, Medicare Advantage is poised to bring meaningful health and financial security to millions of seniors in 2023.”
Beyond Medicare Advantage’s ability to save seniors money, nearly every Medicare Advantage plan covers extra “supplemental” benefits not included in traditional Medicare, such as dental and vision care, in-home health and wellness services, nutrition and meal delivery services and other valuable resources.
Notably, polling finds that Medicare Advantage beneficiaries have a 94 percent satisfaction rate with their plans, while 95 percent report that they are satisfied with their provider network.
The deadline to sign up for Medicare Advantage is December 7 but enrollment could be extended until 2023.