Seniors in Rural Areas Face Less Competitive Medicare Advantage Market

Plan Choices, Premiums and Out-of-Pocket Limits Less Desirable than Non-Rural Market

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Nov. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new analysis from HealthPocket examines enrollee options for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans and finds that rural residents have fewer plan choices, and higher premiums and out-of-pocket maximums than their non-rural counterparts.

The study specifically found these differences: 

Rural 

Non-Rural

-          Average number of MA Plans per county:

8

12

-          Average MA Premium: 

$68

$53

-          MA Plans with Zero Premium 

26%

38%

-          MA Plans with $3,400 or Lower Out-of-Pocket Limit: 

24%

31%

Medicare Advantage plans serve 14.4 million Americans and have 28 percent of the Medicare-eligible population market share. The rural MA plan market share, in contrast, has 17 percent. These plans are growing in popularity compared to traditional Medicare, and consumers who choose Medicare Advantage coverage have a variety of plan options to compare before making a final decision.  Consumers base their choices on multiple factors, including premiums, out-of-pocket cost exposure, finding their physician in a plan network and quality scores. 

"Rural Medicare Advantage consumers are at a clear disadvantage compared to non-rural enrollees with respect to the key financial factors that go into plan selection," said Steve Zaleznick, Executive Director for Consumer Strategy and Development at HealthPocket. "They may have some good choices among those offered to them, but the competition in rural areas is just not as steep as it is in larger markets."

This HealthPocket Infostat is part of a series using health plan data to produce unbiased market analysis and guidance for consumers navigating America's changing health insurance environment.  Consumers can review Medicare plan options for free using HealthPocket's Medicare comparison tool.  

About HealthPocket

HealthPocket.com is a free website that compares and ranks all health plans available to an individual, family, or small business, so everyone can make their best health plan decision and save on their out-of-pocket costs. The Company uses only objective data from government, nonprofit, and private sources that carry no conditions that might restrict the site from serving as an unbiased resource. The founders of HealthPocket.com spent decades pioneering online access to health insurance information and knew they could offer something different that can positively change how people buy and use healthcare in the U.S. Learn more at www.HealthPocket.com.

SOURCE HealthPocket



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