Health Affairs: Medicare Advantage is Crushing Fee-for-Service

Two new Health Affairs studies this month brought further evidence that Medicare Advantage (MA) is crushing traditional fee-for-service Medicare in quality, and that the world’s largest experiment in risk adjustment is working in MA.

The first study suggests that members of Medicare plans “might use fewer services and be experiencing more appropriate use of services than enrollees in traditional Medicare.”

The second suggests that the government has succeeded over the past decade in reducing favorable risk selection in MA plans by introducing diagnosis-based risk adjustment, a lock-in period for members, and expanded plan types.

The studies together paint a compelling picture that MA plans are crushing traditional Medicare in cost containment without necessarily serving the healthiest members, and that risk adjustment has the desired effect.

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