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WASHINGTON, Feb. 1, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Recognizing the increased popularity of Medicare Advantage (MA) among Black Medicare beneficiaries, the National Caucus and Center on Black Aging (NCBA) has published a new report examining "The Benefits of Medicare Advantage for Black Americans."

The report found that Medicare Advantage offers several unique elements that – while potentially advantageous to beneficiaries across demographic groups—may be particularly aligned with the needs of Black beneficiaries. Key elements associated with MA plans, detailed in the report include:

  • Lower costs and greater savings. Due in part to maximum out-of-pocket (OOP) limits, Medicare Advantage has a 35 percent lower rate of cost burden as compared to traditional Medicare. Black MA beneficiaries see an average of $1,270 in costs savings compared to those enrolled in traditional Medicare.
  • Coverage of supplemental benefits. Unlike traditional Medicare, nearly all MA plans (99 percent) offer coverage of supplemental benefits such as vision, dental, hearing, telehealth and/or wellness. In recent years MA plans have expanded their supplemental benefit coverage to include programs designed to address social determinants of health.
  • More coordinated and consistent access to care and medicines, particularly through special needs plans (SNPs). SNPs are tailored Medicare Advantage plans designed to meet the unique health care needs of some of the most vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries. While Black beneficiaries make up only eight percent of the traditional Medicare population and 11 percent of the total MA population, they comprise nearly 30 percent of the total enrollment in SNPs.
  • Improved health outcomes. Research shows that Medicare Advantage outperforms traditional Medicare across a range of health outcome categories and metrics. MA beneficiaries have a  43 percent lower rate of avoidable hospitalizations compared to those enrolled in traditional Medicare. Among groups with complex chronic conditions the gap is even greater, with Medicare Advantage's avoidable hospitalization rate being 57 percent lower than the rate for traditional Medicare.

"Increasingly we're seeing older Black adults choose Medicare Advantage over traditional fee-for-service Medicare. Today 49 percent of Black adults eligible for Medicare are enrolled in an MA plan and between 2013 and 2019 alone, minority MA enrollment grew by 111 percent," said Karyne Jones, President and CEO of NCBA.

"Black seniors have higher rates of economic instability, poorer access to high quality care, greater rates of chronic conditions, and myriad other adverse impacts related to social determinants of health compared to White seniors. As our report makes clear, Medicare Advantage's supplemental benefits, better care coordination, and cost savings are particularly meaningful for this unique population group."

To learn more about the ways in which Medicare Advantage supports Black beneficiaries and to read the full report click here.  

About the National Caucus & Center for Black Aging

The National Caucus & Center on Black Aging is a national organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for older Black Americans. The organization conducts research, advocacy, and education to promote policies and programs that meet the unique needs of older Black Americans.

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SOURCE National Caucus and Center on Black Aging (NCBA)

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