Medicare Advantage Plans Not So Advantageous for Patients

Diabetes patients with a Medicare Advantage plan had poorer health than those on fee-for-service plans

A study led by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine found that diabetes patients on Medicare Advantage plans had poorer health than those on traditional fee-for-service Medicare plans.

Despite the fact that those on Advantage plans were more likely to receive preventive care, they were less likely to be prescribed newer, more costly medications and also suffered from higher blood pressure and worse blood glucose control than patients on FFS plans.

The study was published in Diabetes Care.

According to the study, these trends illustrate that the rapid growth in Medicare Advantage enrollees may foreshadow a trend toward poorer health outcomes for those patients. Diabetes is reported in one in five Medicare beneficiaries age 65 and older and is associated with over 60% higher out-of-pocket prescription costs compared to those without diabetes.

The researchers said these findings can help fine-tune the Medicare Advantage program, allowing patients to access the care and treatments they need while keeping costs and health care utilization low.

This article originally appeared on Medical Economics.