More insurance brokers would choose traditional Medicare over Medicare Advantage: Report

More insurance brokers said they would enroll in traditional Medicare over Medicare Advantage, according to a report published Feb. 28 by the Commonwealth Fund.

Here's six things to know about what brokers have to say about the state of Medicare: 

  1. Most of the brokers interviewed said they received higher commission rates to enroll clients in Medicare Advantage plans over Medigap plans. 

  2. Commissions for Part D supplement plans were too low to fairly compensate brokers, focus group participants said. Low commissions disincentivize brokers from reviewing part D options with clients each year, according to the Commonwealth Fund. 

  3. Focus group participants said they tend to sell Medigap plans, which can have higher premiums, to higher-income clients, and Medicare Advantage plans to lower-income clients.The group consensus was that traditional Medicare with Medigap provides fewer hassles if beneficiaries can afford it.
  4. Most of the brokers in the focus group said they would personally choose traditional Medicare over Medicare Advantage. One broker said, "If I ever have a medical issue, I’d want to be able to go to any physician I want." 

  5. Some of the brokers said rising Medigap premiums are driving some of the push toward Medicare Advantage plans. Some said based on commission rates from CMS, it seems like the government wants to drive more enrollees to MA. "[The government] is pushing us out of Medigap altogether … to Medicare Advantage, and that's going to be the way of the future," one broker said. 

  6. Misleading marketing leaves often leaves beneficiaries confused and upset, the focus group participants said. Clients can unknowingly switch plans or believe certain benefits are available to them that are not. 

Read the full report here. 

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