This AARP Public Policy Institute Issue Paper examines the benefits and premiums of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans in 2006, including those of the Special Needs Plans (SNPs) that are available for beneficiaries who are institutionalized, dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, or have multiple chronic conditions.
The authors deal with the following questions relevant to 2006 MA plans:
- With the introduction of the Medicare drug benefit, how different are MA premiums and benefits in 2006 from what they were earlier?
- How do premiums and benefits vary by type of MA plan in 2006, and what range of plans is offered to beneficiaries?
- How much financial risk or protection are beneficiaries assuming or buying if they enroll in the newer, less managed MA plans–that is, regional and local PPOs and PFFS plans–and how does that amount of risk or protection compare with traditional Medicare alone or with the most common Medigap supplements?
- How does coverage in SNPs compare with generally available coverage for beneficiaries, especially in the same market?
In their concluding observations, the authors address several policy and operational challenges that emerge from their analysis of the 2006 data. (93 pages)