Medicare Advantage enrollees with chronic conditions are not more likely to switch to traditional Medicare: Study

Medicare Advantage enrollees with more chronic conditions are not more likely to switch to fee-for-service Medicare, a study published June 26 in JAMA found. 

The study, written by researchers at the Ohio State University in Columbus and George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., compared rates of switching from fee-to-service Medicare among enrollees with no or one chronic conditions, two to three chronic conditions, four to five chronic conditions and six or more chronic conditions. 

The researchers found no significant differences in the rates of members leaving Medicare Advantage by the number of chronic conditions from 2009 to 2019. 

Wendy Xu, PhD, associate professor of health services management at policy at OSU and an author of the study, said the study's results were unexpected based on historical patterns of disenrollment. 

"Twenty or 30 years ago, it used to be that people who develop chronic conditions switch back to traditional Medicare like crazy — but in our study, the switch-back rate was very low," Dr. Xu said in a June 26 news release. 

The study found one exception: Individuals who were eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid were more likely to switch from Medicare Advantage to fee-for-service Medicare. 

Read the full study here.

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