SUNNYVALE, Calif., April 16, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Given the health reform debate over elevated Medicare Advantage reimbursement rates, HealthPocket investigated the prevalence of extra insurance benefits provided by Medicare Advantage plans. These insurance benefits are not covered by original Medicare and they are frequently overlooked in discussions of Medicare Advantage's value proposition to consumers. When reviewing data on 2014 Medicare Advantage plans, HealthPocket found:
- 94% of Medicare Advantage plans provided some form of vision coverage
- 71% of Medicare Advantage plans provided some form of dental coverage
- 59% of Medicare Advantage plans provided some form of hearing coverage
97% of Medicare Advantage plans provided coverage for a minimum of one extra insurance benefit (vision, dental, or hearing) not covered by original Medicare insurance. 42% of all Medicare Advantage plans offered extra insurance coverage for vision, dental, and hearing together in the same plan.
From 2013 to 2014, benchmark payments from the government to Medicare Advantage plans were reduced by 4%. When comparing 2013 Medicare Advantage plans to their 2014 counterparts, HealthPocket found that the percentage of plans that offered all three additional benefits decreased from 47% in 2013 to 42% in 2014. However the percentage of Medicare Advantage plans that offered at least one vision, dental, or hearing benefit not included in original Medicare did not change between 2013 and 2014. It is also worthwhile to note that during the same period, the percentage of enrollees with access to zero premium (i.e. $0) Medicare Advantage plans with drug benefits decreased from 98% in 2013 to 84% in 2014.
"While most Medicare Advantage plans included extra insurance benefits not in original Medicare Parts A & B," said Jesse Geneson, the study's lead author and Data Researcher at HealthPocket, "there was considerable variation for cost-sharing among these benefits as well as the extent of coverage. Consumers should review coverage details carefully before enrolling."
The full findings of the study as well as its methodology can be found at "97% of Medicare Advantage Plans Provide More Medical Benefits Than Original Medicare."
HealthPocket.com is a free website that compares and ranks all health insurance plans available to an individual, family, or small business to allow consumers to make their best health plan decision and reduce their out of pocket costs. HealthPocket uses only objective data from government, non-profit, and private sources that carry no conditions that might restrict the site from serving as an unbiased resource. Learn more at www.HealthPocket.com.