5 ways Medicare Advantage and traditional Medicare differ on affordability: Survey

Around 1 in 5 adults with Medicare reported high healthcare costs in the last year, qualifying them as underinsured, according to a survey from the Commonwealth Fund. 

The survey, published Sept. 19, broke down how reported financial hardships compare between adults with traditional Medicare only, those with traditional Medicare and supplemental coverage, and people with Medicare Advantage. 

Here are five stats to know: 

  1. One in 3 people with traditional Medicare only reported being underinsured. Underinsured numbers were lowest among those with traditional Medicare and supplemental coverage, at 13 percent, and at 22 percent among beneficiaries with MA. 

  2. Overall, 23 percent of Medicare beneficiaries surveyed reported having difficulties affording premiums associated with their insurance. Among those surveyed with incomes under 200 percent of the federal poverty line, 48 percent of beneficiaries with traditional Medicare reported struggling to pay premiums, compared to 34 percent of MA beneficiaries. 

  3. MA beneficiaries were more likely to report delaying dental care due to costs than those with traditional Medicare. Rates were similar across programs for beneficiaries reporting  delaying filling prescriptions, follow-up treatments or specialist visits due to cost. 

  4. MA beneficiaries were slightly more likely than traditional Medicare beneficiaries to report problems accessing healthcare because of cost. Of the respondents with MA, 41 percent reported issues with cost, compared to 35 percent with traditional Medicare. 

  5. MA beneficiaries were more likely to report issues with medical bills or debt. Of those with MA, 21 percent reported incurring medical debt or trouble paying bills in the past year, compared to 14 percent of traditional Medicare beneficiaries. 

Read more here. 

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